Thursday, February 28, 2008

NYTimes Report: U.S. Universities Expand to the Gulf

Fascinating New York Times pictorial and written report on US Universities expanding into the Arabian Gulf region. One of the Universities mentioned is George Mason in Ras Al Khaimah in the UAE. I was just up in RAK in December teaching a seminar at the RAK Women's College. I saw the signs to George Mason University when I drove through the town (yes, it's not really a city).

I'd like to develop some seminar and training business at George Mason in the future. The second picture below is the women's college. And yes, that's a moat around the building. Though it's not filled with water you might guess why they'd put a moat around the women's college... (hint: the men's college is close by :)

On that day I taught both men (pictured) and women. It was only the second time in their college careers that they'd done anything together. The area is very conservative. I asked about a picture with the female students but none would agree to a picture with my camera. They did take one for themselves with their camera though.

It was a great group of students and I really enjoyed working with them. I hope it works out to go back sometime. By the way, it's about an hour drive from Dubai.



The RAK Women's College


The male student government leaders from the RAK Men's College

January Sand Storm

Back in January we had a sand storm come through the city. It was a Friday right after church and the golf tournament had just started. Sand storms are an odd kind of storm that most people don't have the opportunity to experience. Fortunately it cleared by the next day and we had a pleasant day at the golf tournament as shown in my posts below.



Rare Sight... Little League Baseball in Dubai

I took this picture a month ago. It's particularly interesting to me because baseball is not a popular sport in Dubai... it's particularly American. And the Burj Dubai is so clearly visible in the background. My oldest daughters work the concession stand at the ballpark.


Monday, February 25, 2008

Pope Benedict Prays for Jews... and Gets Bad Reviews

Just getting to blog about this from earlier in the month... Pope Benedict has reinstituted a prayer for Jews to recognize Jesus as Savior of the world. The prayer is only in a Latin service that takes place on Good Friday before Easter. I first read about this in this NY Times article. Here's what the translation of the prayer

An unofficial translation of the new prayer reads: “Let us pray for the Jews. May the Lord Our God enlighten their hearts so that they may acknowledge Jesus Christ, the savior of all men.”

The reason this is in the news is that a conservative worldwide assembly of Jewish rabbis has condemned it and says, "the prayer would cast a harsh shadow over the spirit of mutual respect and collaboration that has marked these past four decades, making it more difficult for Jews to engage constructively in dialogue with Catholics."

This is one of those situations that I just struggle to understand. The Jewish body is effectively saying that we can't talk or have dialogue if you insist on saying that what historic Christianity and the Bible say about Jesus is true. But to deny the exclusive nature of claiming that salvation comes through faith in Jesus is to deny orthodox Christianity.

I suppose this flows from a mindset that says that disagreement about Truth is counter productive to good relationships with others and has historically led to violence. The reasoning usually goes that absolute truth claims necessarily lead to violence.

But this isn't true for a religion who's God commands them to "love your neighbor" and "pray for your enemies"; ala Christianity. The violence of some Christians through history is better explained by things like people who call themselves Christians but are not truly regenerate or by pointing out that God's elect, the Church, continue to be sinful despite being redeemed by him. Both of these explanations fit the Biblical description of mankind.

I disagree with Roman Catholics about some theological issues. But on this one... I stand with them. It is Biblical and right to pray these kinds of prayers.

What do you think?

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Replay of October 2007 CBS "60 Minutes" Report on Dubai

This is a very interesting report on Dubai and it's visionary... Sheikh Mohammad. I've not completed both parts but it's a great summary of what's happening here in the city.

The CBS website won't let me embed the part 2 video. So here's a link to it:

CBS 60 Minutes - Dubai Inc. Part 2

Sunday, February 10, 2008

And Now for Real Golf... Dubai Desert Classic!

My parents came to town about a week ago and the last thing we did together was spend a day at the Dubai Desert Classic Golf Tournament. It was a blast! We saw Tiger Woods (who eventually won), Ernie Els, and many other great golfers.

The best moment was watching Ernie Els birdie the hardest hole on the course and then to have his caddie throw my daughter the golf ball!