Sunday, September 03, 2006

Apa Tu Malaysian Christian?

Choon Wei posted some Independence Day reflections on what it means to be a Malaysian Christian. The Force is strong in this one :)

31st August marks another year for our nation to celebrate her 49th birthday. It is a celebration of independence, a celebration of national dignity and a celebration of growth from a helpless state terrorized by communism to one of the most advanced developing nations in the 21st century. Much had been achieved over the decades and today, Malaysia is the home of 25million people, of which 10% claims to be follower of Christ.

From the early days of church planting and reaching the indigenous by Western missionaries, the church of Malaysia has grown to maturity with indigenous leadership, learning to be self-sufficient and self-propagating. It has gone through various challenges and changes throughout the decades, and increasingly becoming a blessing for the nation and a player in reaching the world for Jesus Christ.

After many years of being a Christian since my conversion, and living in a multiracial and multi religious society as a minority, with a new identity of being "anak Malaysia". Born into a middle Class Chinese family, know my little Mandarin, having English as my 'first' language, deemed as one of the kafir dhimmi variety in Muslim dominated Terengganu, interacting with my fellow Malay and Indian brothers, watching MTV and Wah Loi Toi on Astro, singing hymns and sitting on
pews, jumping up and down in Planet Shaker's conferences, adoring John Stott and the Pope, reading the success stories of Rick Warren and Yonggi Cho and going to mamak at the end of the church youth service.

What does it mean to be a Malaysian Christian?

Who are we? Why are we here? Where are we heading to?

Here are some thoughts of which I would like to put forward even as we make sense of our calling in this nation.


Meng said...

Fau Zi's comments to nation building and active involvement in the issues of the day is prophetic in nature and I think the churches of Malaysia should take heed.

I especially resonate with point no. 5 wherein we should learn to do church in our own cultural context. The call to be true to scripture and to ensure that the gospel remain pure is essential in these last days. The Malaysian Church will have to make her stand on issues like homosexuality, promiscuity, abortion etc.

On issues of social justice, the Christians should also begin to speak up. Deut 16:18-20 Our God is a just God who is concern with issues of justice and corruption...."bribery blinds the eyes..."

I also want show appreciation towards NECF and other similar national organizations who have been so succesful in engaging the government and showing the way of Christian love and concern. Great job!

The Hedonese said...

Meng, yes, i'm glad to see such young Asian-Malaysians reject the dichotomy between truth and mission as if 'leaning' on one necessarily means the other takes a 'backseat'...

I resonate with the balance of being "a prophetic community in this 21st century that defies the odds" affirming the supremacy and exclusive claims of Jesus Christ and with the call to be "Good Samaritans in our country.. who cry out for the poor, for the weak, for the marginalized"

A good example of 'Asian theology' which reflects on how the timeless, unchanging, age-old yet ever-fresh gospel answers new, culture-specific questions of our day like a mustard seed bearing distinct asian fruits in malaysian soil/weather... without falling into a nietszchean pit where each community 'creates' its own truths :)

Fadzel said...

What is a Malaysian Christian?

Ask Lina Joy. I have no answer. I belonged to the 'others'. I was born a Muslim. I became a Christian over nine years ago.

For most part I have to remain discreet. In Malaysia, I am still legally a Muslim no matter how much I tried to get my conversion legalised. I never had the opportunity to be a real part of the Malaysian church. I have to move from one country to another on temporary student visa.

Perhaps this Lina Joy issue and the way the church and individual Christians respond to this will lead or at least contribute to part of the answer.

For my part, I can only say this about my self-identification. I am a Christian and a Malay. But I have yet to see a viable place in the Malaysian society that I can actively and safely involve myself in its issues.