Tuesday, January 22, 2008

The Bible is Like...

“Going to the cinema to watch movies is sinful,” declared Disciple Ah Kow. “No, it’s not,” countered Disciple Ah Lek who loves to watch movies, “It’s educational.” Both disciples were washing toilets in the Sow-lin Monastery. The monastery has this policy that its disciples should share in the maintenance of the premises. The policy was instituted for building character in its disciples. The monastery also saves by not employing more janitorial staff.

“Watching movies corrupts the soul,” Ah Kow continued, “Did not the Apostle Peter said, ‘Do not love the world or anything in the world.[1]’” “But the Apostle Paul said, ‘be transformed by the renewing of your mind.[2]’ Going to movies will renew our minds.” responded Ah Lek. “Sinner!” shouted Ah Kow, “You just want to watch semi-naked girls.” “Do not,” Ah Lek shouted back, “I want to watch the movie The Passion of the Christ.” “Liar!” screamed Ah Kow pushing Ah Lek. Ah Lek responded with a well executed ‘drunken tiger falling down the hill’ roundhouse kick.

Abba Ah Beng was sitting crossed legged eating durian[3] in the main hall when his two disciples were brought before him. He looked up at Ah Kow and Ah Lek with a gleam in his eyes, which set the two disciples’ knees quaking[4]. “Fighting again, I see,” sighed Abba Ah Beng, “Ah Kow, open this durian with this screwdriver.” Ah Kow reached out to grab the durian and tried to open the fruit. All he managed to get were lots of painful scratches. “Here, let me,” said Ah Lek as he reached out and grab the screwdriver. With a skilful poke and twist, he opened the fruit into two pieces revealing the seeds with its golden fleshy outer layer.

A rich aroma filled the hall. Both Abba Ah Beng and Ah Lek inhaled with a satisfied “Hmm.” Ah Kow gagged. “Such a wonderful smell” sighs Ah Lek. “So horrible-lah. Like rotten eggs!” Ah Kow complained. “Here,” Abba Ah Beng said, “eat, eat.” Ah Lek took a seed and ate its luscious flesh with a look of ecstasy on his face. “Very good-lah” he commented. Abba Ah Beng beamed. “Sure good-lah. Special tree, B94” he explained. Meanwhile, Ah Kow shut his eyes as he put the fleshy seed in his mouth. “Urgh!” he croaked, “the inner seed is so hard.” Then he choked and turned blue as he had accidentally swallowed the seed.

The Bible is like a durian,” explained Abba Ah Beng, as he performed the Heimlich manoeuvre on Ah Kow. “To apply it, you have to know how to open it. Otherwise all you get are some painful wounds. With the correct technique, which is the Holy Spirit, you can open the Bible and taste of its teachings. The succulent fleshy part of the seed is the interpretations and traditions of the church. These are the negotiable part of the Bible; like going to the movies, wearing jeans to church, or playing drums during worship. Some people love it, others hate it. The hard seed is the inner core of Biblical teaching. It is non-negotiable and consists of truths such as God is three and one (the Trinity), Jesus is the Son of God, and Jesus is fully human and fully God. This seed when planted in the right soil will grow into a tree and bear good fruits.”

Both disciples blinked in awe at Abba Ah Bang’s insight, the durian forgotten. Abba Ah Beng calmly finished his durian, burped and said, “I’m going to town, my movie starts in an hour.”

[1] 1 John 2:15a
[2] Romans 12:2b
[3] A durian is a round fruit with thorns on the outside. It is the King of fruits. Either you love it or hate it. Want to know more, google ‘durian’ and hope your computer do not smell.
[4] Disciple Ah Kow later set up the Christian group called Quakers.

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Ariana said...

it smacks of modernism to hold to non-negotiables or boundary markers that exclude the others. Maybe set-centered inclusiveness would do better in asia. Everything can be rethought, reexamined, renegotiated, redefined for nothing is not situational, cultural-specific, historically situated.. tat includes the nicene creed

Alex Tang said...

Truth, absolute truths transcend modernism or all other 'ism.

We must be careful in our re-examination of our beliefs that we do not throw away the baby with the bathwater.

In the post-modern world, do we argue that gravity is relative? Tell that to someone falling off a cliff.