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Prof. Stuart Christie
Professor, Department of English Language and Literature

   
Stuart Christie teaches English literature at Baptist University where he has been working since 1999. He is the author of two books, Worlding Forster: The Passage from Pastoral (Routledge, 2005) and Plural Sovereignties and Contemporary Indigenous Literature (Palgrave, 2009).


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綠浸大Green BU
Pass It On!
Paperless Office
Hangzhou Half-Step
Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead

An American Baptist in Bristol
2009-07-13 12:28:13.0 網誌分類: 生活分享
 

(Disclaimer: I was baptized a Roman Catholic, happily attended sermons at the Baptist chapel next door to the campus (KIBC) only briefly when I first arrived in Hong Kong, and am now married—praise God—to a Buddhist. I’m not currently a practicing Baptist, but in the title above claim it only as an honor by virtue of my University employer.)

Hello from Bristol, England! This is the famous port town facing west toward the Atlantic ocean and away from Europe—tall ships embarked from here at the dawn of British commercial trade and, as empire grew, the merchant town also traded in slaves. Despite the grimmer aspects of its history, Bristol remains a lovely town with strong examples of all important British architectural styles—gothic, English renaissance, baroque, Georgian, Victorian, and Edwardian. I’m here on conference leave as well as to poke around in a local university archive for my research project.

Even after only several days, I have been fascinated by how many different stories of faith which, like the mix of architectural styles, intersect in England generally, and Bristol in specific.

I’d like to begin on the English east coast—the opposite side of the country from Bristol—in Kent. The first Christian (Roman Catholic) missionary to England was St Augustine of Canterbury. (He was also the very first archbishop by the same name; today, the site of a beautiful gothic cathedral made famous as the subject of a pilgrimage in Geoffrey Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales.) St Augustine was sent by the pope in Rome, Gregory I, with the mission of converting the Anglo-Saxon king of Kent, whose wife had already converted to Christianity. (History is full of examples of wise men dutifully following their wives.) Augustine and about forty other monks landed and duly converted the king, Æthelberht, and many (if not all) of his subjects at the end of the sixth century A. D. (anno domini: the year of our Lord, Jesus Christ).

Interestingly, even as early Christianity struggled to survive in the centuries after St. Augustine’s first mission, Christian (Roman Catholic) communities in the western part of England—like Bristol—fared better. Even so, the early Christian church struggled through Norse invasions, pagan disbelief, plague, and what we today can safely call medieval poverty—all proof that faith matters most not when times are easy but when times are hard.

With England’s rise as a culture and nation centuries later, including the establishment of London as the seat of a global empire, Bristol became an important shipping centre for the Irish and North American trade. Interestingly, by the mid-1700s the town also served as the scene for another radical experiment in the on-going reform of English Christianity.

Bristol is the home of John Wesley’s first chapel, called the New Room. It’s a humble two-storey structure—with thick, white-washed stone walls, broad windows and a tiled roof. John Wesley lived upstairs and preached below. (A much larger, adjoining structure was subsequently built, giving the original chapel something of a lean-to look.) Sadly, the chapel was locked up the day I walked by, so I had to content myself with peering through the gate. There is no visitor center yet although there are plans for one.

Who was John Wesley? Well, I’m embarrassed to say I didn’t recognize his name either, until far too late in my life, even though I certainly knew of the movement he founded called—appropriately enough—Wesleyanism. We, in the North American context where it particularly flourished, call Wesley’s version of the faith the Christian Methodist movement (or “Methodist,” for short). Today the Methodist church is the second largest Christian denomination in the United States—after the Baptists—and is the third largest Christian denomination in the world, with scores of prestigious universities associated with its particular creed.

It’s remarkable, then, that in his early days John Wesley couldn’t even find a room to preach in.

John Wesley and his brother, Charles Wesley, made a strong (and in my opinion most convincing) argument that one’s soul can only be saved through the personal intervention of God. Naturally, this claim did not sit well with the ecclesiastical descendants of Augustine, England’s by then established and very hierarchical church which believed that their High Anglican institutions—and not simply the miraculous intervention of God—were alone sacred. The Wesley brothers were accordingly persecuted by followers of established (Anglican) churches in both England and America. By 1739, Wesley was preaching in Bristol in the open air, because the great majority of parish churches did not accept him or his followers. Nor had he been ordained by the official church; hence, his views were considered “illegal” and subversive of the existing social order. Only by 1739 did Wesley have enough support to build the small chapel I visited. After that year his “revival” of Anglicanism using “lay” (non-ordained) preachers revolutionized the faith in all English-speaking towns throughout the Atlantic seaboard and wherever the ships of Bristol went. Today, and largely as a consequence of colonialism, Methodist churches are found in every continent of the world.

What is the lesson I have learned recalling the histories of St. Augustine and John Wesley in Bristol? For me, the lesson of history is that faith matters, even or most especially the faith persisting against all odds. My own view—not necessarily my University’s!—is that some kind of faith (whether Catholic, Baptist, Methodist, or Buddhist) is necessary in this all-too-cynical world we live in. If you’ve never set a foot inside a church or temple your whole life, then this notion of faith might also include, I suppose, the faith in our follow human beings as inherently good. Differences in doctrine among different faiths remain important; in my view, however, the choice we make for faith stands of even greater importance.

Even if all you believe in is belief, you nevertheless must believe in something.

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The Kids Are All Right
2009-06-18 19:05:31.0 網誌分類: 我的專業
 

Yesterday I and a few other colleagues and students helped out in promoting what we over in ENG and EDUC call the integrated “double-degree” (BA ENG/BEd in English Language Teaching) to JUPAS-stream potential applicants. Our HKBU double-degree was the first to be founded in Hong Kong and, with an annual intake of around only twenty students, promises both “value-added” rigor and intimacy along the lines of elite, liberal arts and teaching programs I am familiar with in the United States.

The two directors of the double-degree, Dr Choi Tat Heung and Dr Hans Ladegaard, are busy people, holding down regular teaching duties and scholarship in their respective departments on top of their work with the integrated double-degree. And they are deserving of all praise.

But, I must say, it was our double-degree students who stole the show yesterday.

In another bold marketing move for which she is becoming famous, Dr Choi had suggested that instead of doing the usual JUPAS “interview” format—complete with memorized scripts, formal dress codes and performance anxiety for our potential JUPAS applicants—we give some of the session time to allow already proven, student-teacher trainers to actually demonstrate what they know instead.

What you see is what you get.

And our hand-picked teacher-trainer superstars—Amina Perveen, Frank Chu, Jeannette Siu, Eugene Tam, Fiona Cheung, and Vincent Ip—delivered superbly. Their brief was to take 10-20 minutes, depending upon availability of time (given the other information and material we, the faculty, had to present) and to actually demonstrate to our potential applicants how they are currently teaching English-language content (ranging from basic phonetics to creative writing to Oliver Twist) as part of their supervised teaching practice, and using the knowledge they’ve learned as part of their training in the double degree. In other words, they “microtaught” compressed versions of the same material they are presently teaching to primary and secondary school students in local EMI and CMI classrooms.

I think I can risk speaking on behalf of the other colleagues present (Dr. K. Y. Wu, Dr Wee Lian Hee, and Dr Jennifer Connelly) when I say that I left the venue not only impressed with the work all of our faculty colleagues on the BA ENG/BEd EDUC double degree are doing, but also with the young citizen-teachers we are training. Who knows: perhaps someday my own daughter may be taught by one of them, and how much more assured I am now in the face of such a prospect!

I was made to understand yesterday that the student-teachers were given the title of event “Student Ambassadors.” May I suggest, now that they’re continuing to prove themselves so admirably, that we simply refer to them as our fellow-teachers? Or better still . . . as our younger colleagues.

 

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For Mom and Tim
2009-06-06 18:24:38.0 網誌分類: 生活分享
 

All hail blogosphere!

I’d like to dedicate this, my first blog, to my Mom and Tim. They've each provided a good example of the kind of writer I’d like to be, in any medium, in hard or soft-copy. And I know what you’re all thinking.

Awwwwwwww. Isn’t that cute.

 Well, I mean it.

My mother, Glennys, still writes better than I do, and as far as style goes, she’s still my best critic and editor. She had a long and successful career in journalism and public relations, before she founded her own small (monthly) newspaper as publisher. I remember her staying up all night getting the paper “to bed” as journalists call it, correcting and pasting the galley proofs together before taking them to the big printer’s shop, with the giant dinosaur-like presses, in downtown Vancouver, British Columbia.

During my summer vacations from college, I’d go back home to work. I usually got up early, around six a.m., to get myself down to the dock. I’d come down the stairs during the last week of the month, and there my Mom would be, still awake and bleary-eyed. She’d be sipping coffee in her bathrobe just before going to bed to sleep the day through. The morning sun would be just breaking through the mist.

She made that vigil for her newspaper every month for years. And she never complained. She just did it.

Without doubt, whatever work ethic I have comes from my Mother, and from my remembering those days. This was a long time before the internet, e-mail, and photoshop. The machine (teletype) she used to create the galley proofs allowed digital input only one line at a time! And it was as big and fat as a sofa.

(My Mom admits with a wry smile that now things are a lot easier for journalists.)

I don’t know Tim Hamlett very well, but we greet each other cheerfully in passing. I often hear him practicing the bagpipes with his band down on the Science Podium on weekday evenings. I believe he still teaches journalism part-time with us. (At least I hope so.) He’s proud of our University community and has been part of it and the broader Hong Kong journalism scene for a long time.

I love to read his weekly column in the South China Morning Post. Even when I think I’ve got a particular issue or concern all figured out, Tim Hamlett almost always teaches me something new. I think he’s achieved the perfect combination of having something to say and knowing how to say it. In my worst writing, I come across sounding either like a snob or a windbag. (Sometimes both.) Tim never, at least in my recollection, sounds like either one.

(And, by the way, he’s got just about the coolest set of Edwardian moustaches I’ve ever seen.) 

So, Mom and Tim, anything good that emerges in this blog I hope you can attribute to my trying to walk the trail you have both blazed in print journalism. From California to Vancouver, from England to Hong Kong. You’ve both covered just about every story, just about everywhere.

Anything tetchy, rude, or inappropriate you can also rest assured our good friends at CPRO will ensure never lives to see the light of a pixel dawn. And I thank them for that.

And I know you’d both help me edit it out, too.

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夏力道--中藥秘道
作者: 趙中振教授

2013-03-01 09:03:25.0

  載於《中藥醫緣》二0一三年二月號第四十五期

棄之樂
作者: 文潔華教授

2012-05-10 09:28:24.0

又搬家了。 搬家當然辛苦,但又是一個身心都在運動和學習的過程,而且苦中有樂。 第一件樂事是學習丟棄。決定哪些物件應予丟棄一定要狠,要決斷,還要信心。何解?太多物件可以惹起感情的聯想,一想就會留戀(






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