Tuesday, June 14, 2005

Standing Up For Jesus

Lai Tak Ming of Graduate Christian Fellowship sums up what the kind of Christianity that is needed in Malaysia in this article

... and the kind of engaging, warm and informed Christians the Agora seeks to raise.

"The church in Malaysia seems to be growing and expanding and thriving with increasing attendance, bigger churches and mega churches mushrooming...

And yet…this growth does not appear to have a proportionate impact on the society at large. The moderating influence as salt and the beacon of hope as light to the world does not seem to have made much of a dent to our Malaysian society. WHY NOT?

Could it be that we, the church, the representative of the Kingdom of God in Malaysia are too preoccupied with our `other world' pursuits that we have neglected our `current world' obligations?

Could it be that we are too parochial in our outlook, too inward looking and too concerned only with personal piety and forms of religiosity? An anecdotal example was shared to me by a friend about how during a Sunday sermon, the pastor talked about the need to spend more time in fellowship with the brothers and sisters and not with our non Christian friends less we become `polluted' by them.

How, I wonder, are we going to be true to our calling to be `salt and light' if we are reluctant to be engaged with the world and to be involved with the lives of those in need of a `physician' as the Lord puts it? Jesus did not ask us to look at him in heaven and be saved. He came into our midst and walked with us and lived our lives to present us the logos of life.

In Amos, God made it very clear what is of greater concern to him. It is not our worship services and beautiful music (and mind you, some of our services have gotten quite sophisticated), or the acts of Christian piety (more bumper stickers and wall posters, tracts and other symbolism of religiosity). It is about justice and righteous living that God wants to see without sacrificing the others. Check out what Jesus said to the Pharisees in Matt 23:23.

So where are we, fellow Christians? Are we making a difference for God in our respective corners of our world? Will Malaysia become a better place because we are here? I commend those of us who have the courage to stand up and be counted, who have decided to walk into the furnace of corruption and wickedness to, with God's help, become beacons of light for the world and the rest of us laggards. I commend the Chun Wais, the Seng Koks, the Ron Tans, the Nehemiahs, the Denisons and many others who dare stand up in the marketplace to make a difference for God.

1 comment:

jacksons said...

"Could it be that we, the church, the representative of the Kingdom of God in Malaysia are too preoccupied with our `other world' pursuits that we have neglected our `current world' obligations?"

I hardly think that this is our problem. We are so buried in this world, that we have lost sight of the next one. What do our big budgets for buildings and lack of philanthropy show? They betray our materialism, which is a disease in Christian history of a church that has lost sight of heaven.

If we really had a vision of the restoration & consummation of the kingdom of God in the second coming of Christ, we would evangelize, love, nourish and fight injustice, all with a resolute focus to get people on the right side of the judgment of God coming upon the world of mankind.

And what about our dear left-behind rapture folks that are rightly charged with futile escapisms that does society and the present world church no good, are they really so “heavenly minded that they are off no earthly use?” – on the surface it would seem that way. But look closely, where did their convictions come from? Sound exegesis? Or was it from movies, New York times bestseller books and the sheer volume of patrons to these ideas? So they in their Hollywood type fantasies are actually mirroring the people of this world (who have their own apocalyptical fantasies, like a environmental disaster based one seen in the “Day after tomorrow”).

If we were consumed with the transcendent issues of life, like the glory of God and being conformed into the image of Christ, we will be the most usefull people on earth, even to the point of conserving the environment and fighting injustice.

Thus I don’t buy this pseudo-liberal-social-gospel flavored arguments that we have become so spiritual we are useless – we are useless because our spirituality must be fake! We cast out demons with great charismatic drama, but say nothing of demonized authorities oppressing weaker people. Somehow, more than I can describe, we have become so infused with Hollywood, that we are living in a sort of drama.