Archive for January, 2009

Moles and Research Students

Friday, January 30th, 2009

It’s really busy here!! Research Colloquium is taking place, and the next week sees the beginning of our February Intensives for the masters level students. It may be a bit overwhelming, especially if it’s your first time and it takes you five minutes during our usual 10.30 Coffee time to swim through the Guest Lounge towards Yulia and Zhenya to get your drink. But it is wonderful to sense all these energies directed to various research fields, to see all the faces of the friends and to hear the updates of what is happening in various parts of the world from which our students and supervisors come. And just to enjoy the fun of spending time together, in and out of the Colloquium!

To those of you who are not on campus at the moment, perhaps the following entry might give a feel of the fun.  These are the musings of David McMillan, one of our Research students, currently with us on campus. Enjoy!

Each morning on the way to breakfast I stop and do a quick count of the number of mole hills in the garden at the rear of F Building.  I’m intrigued by them because where I come from we aren’t troubled by moles.  They must be distant cousins of the snake and decided to make a run for it when St Patrick drove the snakes out of my native island, Ireland. (more…)

Meditation from Spurgeon for a Eucharist at IBTS

Thursday, January 29th, 2009

Recently Keith Jones noted in this blog the suggestion that there might be a dialogue – campaign? – to change the attitudes of truly baptistic churches about the Eucharist and his own resolution for 2009 – to engage in that dialogue via the means of this blog and to make it a theme in the theological forum at Amsterdam 400. I have what might be a rather heavy contribution to this – but not too heavy for our discerning IBTS community bloggers, I’m sure. It is a meditation I gave some time ago at an IBTS Eucharist.

In this celebration of the Eucharist [I said] I want to use, for our meditation, some ideas from C.H. Spurgeon. (more…)

Closing a bank account – possibly!

Tuesday, January 27th, 2009

New day – old bank. The quest to make new Banking arrangements continues for our Šárka Valley Community Church. Hopefully making real progress to open a new account, we decide the time has come to close the old account with ČSOB – my personal motto for them is “the bank that likes to say no.”  We fully understand closing an account with them can be difficult. Former colleagues who spent time at IBTS years ago had accounts with them and when they returned to their homes in other countries, despite having gone into the bank and signed forms to close the account, statements continue arriving, wracking up the monthly charge for managing the accounts they tried to close. (more…)

Opening a bank account – possibly!

Monday, January 19th, 2009

Our local church, Šárka Valley Community Church (Baptist) (SVCC) has decided to open a new bank account. Our current state-owned bank is proving rather expensive in looking after our money. Only a limited number of Czech Banks offer accounts for churches, but the Czech Post office seemed to offer a good deal on internet banking according to their adverts so SVCC officers, Petra and Keith, went to the main office in Prague 6 to open an account armed with our Certificate as a Church from the Ministry of Culture, our Finance Ministry IČO number and many other records. (more…)

Back at IBTS

Tuesday, January 13th, 2009

The academic year has resumed! Everybody’s back and studying hard (so we hope). Here’s a piece from Olha, one of the CAT students from Ukraine, reflecting on her time home for Christmas vacation and returning back to IBTS and Building G where the CATs reside.

11th of January, 06.00 in G building. I hear a loud noise. “We are the champions!” That’s the boys singing, or rather, screaming. They have just arrived. CATs are gathering after their Christmas vacation…

During my Christmas holidays in Ukraine, I have been asked a lot of questions about my study at IBTS, such as, “Are you going to be a pastor? No? So, why do you need to study theology?” Or, “Who was teaching you English? Phil and Nancy? Are they Ukrainians? Ah they aren’t – so how could you understand them if they don’t speak Ukrainian?” Or, “How is it possible to live in one building with 16 students from different countries and have friendly relationships?” After this last question I’ve realised that community life is the most important part in the CAT programme. It is hard, strange and inconvenient, but it is wonderful, unusual and fun! (more…)

The New Good Soldier Švejk

Monday, January 12th, 2009

So, Prague’s become an honorary capital of Europe for the period the EU presidency! The Prime Minister is already boasting of his success in negotiating gas supply for Europe over the weekend (so we continue to be warm, and hope you are warm too. Better not think of what it’ll cost though!).

One just wonders how this EU presidency will continue. The other day, the Financial Times’s Tony Barber had an interesting observation regarding another key person in Czech life – not the Prime Minister, but the famous President of the country, who upon having to welcome the European Commission into Prague clearly showed his disdain towards the whole thing, and did his best to insult the president of the Commission. Apologies to those who are getting fed up by our interest in this personality, but we just can’t stop being amazed. Barber suggests Klaus has what it takes to be the 21st century’s Good Soldier Švejk. Hmm, not so sure… But wonder what others think.

Here’s the aforementioned column – titled “Vaclav Klaus poops the EU’s party at Prague Castle”!

– Lina & Keith

Carol for today

Tuesday, January 6th, 2009

As the church celebrates the Epiphany (or the “Day of Three Kings” as it is known in some countries, including the Czech Republic) according to the Gregorian calendar, here’s another version of the carol of the

 Three Kings of Orient:

We are freaks who follow the stars,
Pleiades, Neptune, Venus and Mars;
Men and women, dressed in linen,
Peddling our lucky charms… O

The Czech Presidency of the European Union

Monday, January 5th, 2009

As the clock struck midnight on 31 December the Presidency of the European Union rotated from the French Government to the Czech Government. Now, for six months, Prague holds the limelight in EU affairs.

There could not be a bigger contrast in attitudes to Europe than between the head of State in France, Nicolas Sarkozy and the very Euro-sceptic Czech President, Vaclav Klaus. Klaus has already made clear the EU flag will not fly over Prague Hrad and the Czech Prime Minister and his colleagues will no doubt do all they can to keep President Klaus out of the European agenda and limelight in an effort not to be embarrassed. Klaus, right-wing economic libertarian admirer of Baroness Margaret Thatcher, has no time for Europe, believes climate change is a lot of nonsense and enjoys creating political storms in various tea-cups. (more…)