Thursday, December 31, 2009

Court declares 'Allah' ban invalid

From Malaysiakini: In a landmark judgment, the Kuala Lumpur High Court presented the Catholic Church a belated Christmas present by ruling that the Home Ministry's blanket ban on the use of the word 'Allah' is illegal.

In making the decision to allow the motion by the Catholic Church to set aside the ban, High Court judge Lau Bee Lan stated that the minister's order is “illegal, null and void”.

She said that Catholic weekly The Herald can use the word 'Allah' and that the term is not exclusive to Islam.

This overturning of the Home Ministry's earlier ban will allow the Catholic weekly Herald and other non-Islamic publications to use the word 'Allah' as a direct translation for the word 'God' in the Malay language versions of their publications.

Justice Lau said that all Malaysians had the constitutional right to use the word 'Allah'.

However, given the implication of the case, it is likely that the Home Ministry will appeal against the decision to the higher courts.

The landmark case, which was supposed to be heard at the Jalan Duta court complex yesterday, had been postponed to today because Lau said she needed more time to consider her decision.

National security vs religious freedom

The Home Ministry had invoked concerns of national security and said that the ban was to avert any confusion that could ensue should non-Islamic publications use the word 'Allah' as a substitute for 'God'.

The ministry asserted that 'Allah' was exclusive to Islam as a term for the 'one true God'. Hence, other religions could not use it as a generic term.

The Catholic Church, in filing the judicial review, however disputed this and argued that the word 'Allah' predates Islam as a generic term for 'God' and has been in use in many places, even in the Middle East.

It said that in Malaysia, the term 'Allah' is widely used among indigenous Christian tribes in Sabah and Sarawak.

The church also argued that the ban goes against the principle of freedom of religion and religious practices as outlined in the federal constitution.

The Herald, circulated among the country's 850,000 Catholics, nearly lost its publishing licence last year for using the word 'Allah'. The paper is printed in four languages, with a circulation of 14,000 copies a week.

Monday, December 28, 2009

Bribery And Corruption In Asia

Bribery and Corruption Dear friends,

We are pleased to announce that we have an upcoming release, Bribery and Corruption: Biblical Reflections and Case Studies for the Marketplace in Asia by Hwa Yung, Bishop for the Methodist churches in Malaysia. More details about the book and how to order copies can be found in the attached pre-order flyer.

The book is due to be released in February 2010 and we are open for orders now.
For enquiries, you may contact Ms Bernice Lee at

Graceworks Private Limited
Promoting Spiritual Friendship In Church and Society

Tel No.: 6464 6080
Fax No.: 6464 7040

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Why On Earth Are We Here For?

Presented a talk on "Faith And Love" at Uniten Christian Fellowship or TECHFLOW on Wednesday with the transcript here.

Below is my assignment on "The Search For Meaning in Life", teasing out the relevance of Ecclesiastes in Malaysian society

“What is the point of living if everything ends in death? Why on earth we are here for?” These perennial questions about the purpose of life are often raised by most sensitive and reflective people around the world. But our socio-cultural context, in different degrees, influences how we answer that question. Many Malaysians of Chinese origin like my friend (let’s call him “Meng”) are descendants of immigrants who had risked the sea, worked hard and lived frugally to strive for a better future. Like many Malaysian Chinese who live in urban centers, Meng inherited his ancestors’ spirit of diligence and resilience. Wealth accumulation and education for his children (so that they in turn could have better opportunities to make a living) become top priorities since these factors provide a measure of security when he can hardly depend on anyone else for support.

If religion is often a projection of human needs/fears as Freud suggested, then perhaps we can interpret the motivation behind his cultural beliefs like consulting feng shui consultants before setting up a business, the Ching Ming practice of burning paper money for the deceased or the Chinese New Year tradition of welcoming the god of prosperity. It may be observed that the functional god in his life is Money. The pursuit of wealth and the dream of striking a lottery jackpot provide his meaning for existing, sense of security and significance. “Seize the day (Carpe Diem)!” is his life slogan. He would say, “Since we will all ultimately end up in the grave, let’s live with gusto, work hard and play hard and squeeze all the fun and excitement out of the ride”.

The psychologist Viktor Frankl suggested that the will to fulfill a meaning in life is the primary motivational force in humanity. Those who lack a meaning worth living for and find an inner void within their hearts experience ‘existential vacuum’. This is a widespread phenomenon in a rampantly industrializing economy where traditional values are lost. Existential vacuum manifests itself in boredom, addiction (i.e. workaholic, alcoholic or substance abuse), despair, the will to money, apathy or unbridled sexual libido. That could be an apt description of many city dwellers like Meng. What relevance would Qoheleth, the writer of the biblical book of Ecclesiastes, have for people like him?

I think Qoheleth would present an unpleasant challenge to those whose pursuits focus on earthly goals that we find ‘under the sun’. All these toils, projects and pleasure are ultimately transient, impermanent and ultimately profitless. Although wisdom, wealth and backpacking in exotic places have temporal benefits, we do not take any gain in life with us when we die. We come into this world alone and empty-handed, so shall we leave it. In the long run, there is no net gain. There is “a time to be born and a time to die” (3:2). “We all come to the end of our lives as naked and empty-handed as on the day we were born. We can’t take our riches with us” (5:15). It is like chasing after the wind. Vanity of vanities! Not only do we face the certainty of death, we also face the uncertainties of life. No one knows what would happen to his hard-earned wealth even in this lifetime since injustice (3:16) or bad investment (5:14) could overtake us anytime. The Chinese proverb “Wealth does not pass three generations” has often been proven correct with nepotism, poor management and power struggles occurring in Chinese family enterprises. Who can tell if his successor will not squander his wealth (2:18-23)? While all human needs (i.e. food, shelter, clothes) can be satisfied, human greed for money is inherently insatiable. When we try to fill up the vacuum in our hearts with material things, we end up consuming more with ever-decreasing joy with each additional purchase (5:10-11).

But Meng may wonder, “Why should my worldly ambitions be profitless if it gives me a sense of worth and security? And why must life be eternal in order for it to be meaningful?” Atheist philosopher Thomas Nagel would probably agree that human life viewed as a whole is absurd apart from God but insist that we could still find life subjectively meaningful as long as we don’t wonder if it fits into some larger purpose. Entertaining such thoughts is a sign of taking ourselves too seriously. Existentialists like Sartre would probably urge us to create a self-customized meaning and define our own essence from our bare existence. Without God, there is no objective, cosmic meaning in life. But it also makes all sorts of subjective meanings possible.

Some may even argue that an infinite life would be meaningless because we will get tired of it eventually. Consider Karl Popper who said, “There are those who think that life is valueless because it comes to an end. They fail to see that the opposite argument might also be proposed: that if there were no end to life, life would have no value; that it is, in part, the ever-present danger of losing it which helps bring home to us the value of life.” Life is perceived to be worthwhile and significant only because mortality awaits us, bringing a sense of poignant urgency to our transitory lives. Albert Camus’ solution to the urgent question of “Why live and not commit suicide?” is basically a call to stoically face the tension of absurdity.

However, there remains a gnawing sense of dissatisfaction for most people in conceding that our lives are not connected to something bigger than ourselves. The significance of a movie snapshot depends on how it contributed to the conclusion of the whole story (of which the captured moment is a part). Only when we see that connection would we conclude the meaning of that picture as part of a comedy or a tragedy. Unless we know how the story ends, we do not know its significance or meaning. This existential vacuum becomes more acute when we consider the gross injustices that were committed and appeared unpunished in the lifetime of their perpetrators. Qoheleth rightly observed that “even in the courts of law, the very place where righteousness and justice are supposed to be guaranteed, wickedness may be present” (3:16). In this moral context, the demand for a cosmic meaning in life is not motivated not so much by hubris but by justice. The philosopher Immanuel Kant saw that ethics are practically meaningless without God and the afterlife. If death is an abyss of nothingness, then the victims who suffered for a righteous cause under oppressive regimes have ultimately faced a meaningless death. In contrast, Qoheleth offers the alternative of a solid confidence that God will “judge every deed under the sun, whether good or bad, hidden or not” (12:14).

Ethics and significance in life make sense only when we presuppose God.

For most people, there is an existential dissatisfaction with accepting that at the bottom of our lives, there is no purpose, no evil and no good, nothing but blind pitiless indifference. But the moment we look up and see if life as a whole makes sense, the question of ultimate meaning comes back to haunt us. No wonder we desperately seek escapism from confronting this horrible abyss of nothingness by drowning ourselves with subjective meanings like work, relationships, leisure and power. This ‘coping mechanism’ needs to be maintained diligently because God had “put eternity in their heart, yet so that man will not find out what God does from beginning to the end” (3:12). There is an internal God-given preoccupation (3:10) whereby human beings are able to transcend the present moment and survey the past and think of the future. Yet they were not able to find out or change what God had determined, and so, their sense of vanity is aggravated. For God so works that men should fear Him (3:14).

William Lane Craig put it like this: “If each individual person passes out of existence when he dies, then what ultimate meaning can be given to his life? Does it really matter whether he ever existed at all? It might be said that his life was important because it influenced others or affected the course of history. But this only shows a relative significance to his life, not an ultimate significance. His life may be important relative to certain other events, but what is the ultimate significance of any of those events? If all the events are meaningless, then what can be the ultimate meaning of influencing any of them? Ultimately, it makes no difference”. For Qoheleth, a transitory life is meaningful as we choose responsibly to live in the fear of God and to keep his commandments (12:13). This is a perspective on death that is not mere passive acceptance, but one which urges us to enjoy life each day that God has given as a gift (3:12-13, 22).

In 2:24-26 Qoheleth affirmed that the ability to have carefree enjoyment is “from the hand of God.” Only when we embrace the reality that life is transient would we be liberated from greed, lust and despair and turn to God as the source of our significance. Ironically, by fearing God and keeping His commandments on marital faithfulness, honest labor and wise living, we are empowered to enjoy these temporal blessings to the full while we live. Leong Tien Fock wrote, “Since we have no say over whether we could take with us what we have when we die, which can happen at any time and without prior notice, how can we say that we own the things we work for? We do not even own our very life! They are not allotted to us as such. What is allotted is only the enjoyment these things can give us while we still “own” them. To appreciate this reality we need to view this world the way a child views a child-care center full of toys. What is “allotted” to him is the enjoyment of whatever toys he gets to “own” while he is there, but he cannot take any of them with him when he leaves. It would be foolish of the child to spend the few hours he has at the center busy looking out for and gathering his favorite toys, and then guarding them, as if he could bring them home, and in the process miss the opportunity to enjoy any of them.” Instead of making temporal wealth, pleasure and wisdom our idols, we can worship the Giver and thereby, enjoy these gifts truly as we put them in the proper perspective.

Last but not least, it is true that a transient life evokes a certain poignant urgency as Popper says. For example, we appreciate our loved ones more if we know we will lose them for good one day. However, Christian theism goes beyond that to claim that such relationships and significant endeavors may not terminate in death. Would that really diminish the meaning of life? The notion that eternal life would be boring and meaningless is based on the unproven assumption that the joys of heaven would be exhaustible. But why should we assume that in order to advance a strawman argument? Christian theism actually affirms that apart from the joys of reunion with loved ones and fulfilling work that awaits us in the renewed creation, we will spend eternity in relationship with the inexhaustible God Himself.

Theologian John Piper put it this way: “God is infinite and wills to reveal himself to us for our enjoyment of his fullness forever. Yet we are finite and cannot at any time, or in any finite duration of time, comprehend the limitless, infinite fullness of God’s glory… Therefore the implication is that our union with God, in the all-satisfying experience of his glory, can never be complete, but must be increasing with intimacy and intensity forever and ever.” There will always be more of God to discover, learn and savor since finite creatures will never exhaustively know Him. Therefore, glorifying and enjoying God forever remains the meaningful purpose for humanity. From his grace, we can accept and enjoy the good gifts of His creation – be it challenging achievements, authentic relationships and beauty.

Pictures courtesy of Animal World and Stu's View and Philosophy @ Fort Hare and Ginside

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Book Review: Man Search for Meaning by Viktor Frankl

Questions about life’s meaning and suffering which were formerly handled by priests or rabbis are now increasingly confronted by psychiatrists and doctors. In his bestseller Man's Search for Meaning, Dr Victor Frankl highlighted the distinctive of logotherapy, also known as the “Third Viennese School of Psychotherapy”, as the idea that “the striving to find a meaning in one's life is the primary motivational force in man”. Therefore, for logotheraphy, the focus is on the will to meaning in contrast to the will to pleasure of Freudian psychoanalysis and the will to power stressed by Adlerian psychology. While Freud and Adler tried to discover primal drives latent in the past, Frankl focuses rather on the meanings one is called to fulfill in the future. In his moving autobiographical account of experiences in a Nazi concentration camp, he observed how prisoners who lost hope in the future would be subject to mental and physical decay.

According to Frankl, man’s search for meaning is not a derived projection from more basic instinctual drives or sublimations. Otherwise it would lose its ability to challenge or summon him to live or even die for these values. Unlike Sartre’s axiom that existence precedes essence, Frankl’s existentialism asserts that the meaning of our existence is not invented by ourselves but rather we discover it as ‘something confronting existence’. Those who lack a meaning worth living for and find an inner void within their hearts experience ‘existential vacuum’. This is a widespread phenomenon of the twentieth century due to the loss of traditional values and rampant industrialization, manifesting itself in boredom, addiction, the will to money, apathy or unbridled sexual libido.

As a Christian, I applaud Frankl’s critique of the determinism prevailing in much of psychoanalysis that reduced man to nothing but a victim of hereditary or environmental conditions. We share the hope that a ‘rehumanized psychiatry’ would replace the tendency to treat human minds as machines and focus on mere techniques. Indeed, Frankl’s view of man is biblical in the sense that man has both the potentials of behaving like a swine or a saint. Man’s dignity lies in him being created in the image of God and yet marred by the depravity of sin. However, Frankl has an overly optimistic view of human freedom in which even the most evil persons are ultimately self-determining. Through restricted by conditions, they are free to change their own destiny. In the Christian perspective, fallen man is in need of divine rescue and inner liberation before such a change is possible. As long as his basic orientation is self-centered, the outward change merely vacillates between hedonism and legalism. ‘Existential vacuum’ (and its symptoms) express in modern terms Augustine’s ancient prayer that our hearts are restless until they find fulfillment or satisfaction in God.

Read on for the rest of the article

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Meaning Of Life (Ecclesiastes)

The major hermeneutical difficulty of Ecclesiastes is to understand its apparent internal contradictions. At times, Qoheleth seemed to be pessimistic or gloomy about everything in life (“All is vanity!”) while at other times, he admonished readers to enjoy their labor, eat well, live joyfully with one’s wife and receive with gladness what God has given. As a result, interpreters have conflicting descriptions of Qoheleth as a skeptic (R. B. Y. Scott) or an orthodox theist (Aalders, Leupold). Others have tried to resolve the tension by spiritualizing exegesis (Jewish Targum and medieval Christians), positing a dialogue between two differing speakers (Yeard, Eichhorn) or by presenting the futility of the world for evangelistic purposes so that readers will pursue the delights of heaven (the Puritans, Wesley). Eaton took issue with interpreters (Barton, McNeile and Podechard) who saw Ecclesiates as a basically skeptical work with glossatorial additions at the hands of orthodox editor(s) as it would entail a clumsy redactor who added conflicting comments to 'skeptical' passages in the same book. He could have more easily amended these passages altogether. But there is no textual support for such changes, the vocabulary of alleged insertions is remarkably similar to undisputed passages and no methodological necessity exists for such theories if an alternative exposition could reconcile these sections coherently.

Michael Eaton attempted an approach that avoids the pitfalls of critical orthodoxy which downplayed the orthodox elements within Ecclesiastes and traditional orthodoxy which at times has ignored or allegorized its pessimism. “What, then, is the purpose of Ecclesiastes? It is an essay in apologetics. It defends the life of faith in a generous God by pointing to the grimness of the alternative.” He saw a heaven-earth dichotomy in which ‘God is in heaven and you upon earth’ (5:2). The recurring expressions like ‘under the sun’, ‘under heaven’ and ‘on earth’ described the futility of a barren life without reference to faith in God. Therefore, much of the book was blanketed by pessimism. When such terminologies fade away (2:24-26; 11:1-12:14), a more positive tone emerges with references to the ‘hand of God’ (2:24), the joy of man (2:25, 3:12. 5:18, 20, 9:7, 11:7-9), and the generosity of God (2:26, 3:13, 5:19). Qoheleth showed the inevitable bankruptcy of ‘secularism’ in order to drive us to God where life’s meaning can be fulfilled. “It is only to one seeking satisfaction in disregard of God that the Preacher’s message stops at ‘All is vanity’… When a perspective of faith is introduced ‘All is vanity’ is still true, but it is not the whole picture; ‘under the sun’ it is the whole truth.”

But what does the phrase ‘under the sun’ mean? Read on for the whole article

The Genesis Enigma

Professor Andrew Parker is one of those scientists who are Christians that do not see a dichotomy between science and religion. Presently he teaches at Green College at the University of Oxford and at the University of Sidney. He is also the Research Leader at The Natural History Museum in London. With his impeccable scientific background, Parker attempts to approach the first two chapters of Genesis - the Creation account. He takes pains to establish at the beginning of the book of his belief in the inerrancy of the Bible. However he takes issue with those who takes the first two chapters of Genesis literally. The first two chapters should be understood as an account on how life was established on earth as by one who narrates an event. Thus the 'days' are not literal 24 hours but periods of time.

Starting from the Big Bang and using the latest scientific discoveries, Parker relates the scientific account of evolution to the first two chapters of Genesis. In the first chapter of Genesis, there is twice when God said, "Let there be light" - verse 2 and verse 14. Parker attributes the first light (v.2) to be the event after the Big Bang when energy is converted to matter thereby forming atoms and later suns, galaxies, and planets. Then he shifted his focus to earth where in the hot, volcanic surface of the earth, complex molecules came together to form single cells organism. These cells became more complex by using photosynthesis to store energy. The first complex organisms to populate the land were plants thus agreeing with the Genesis account.

It is in the second account of light (v.14) that Parker proposes his bold assertion. He suggests that the second account is when eyes were evolved. These newly evolved organisms were better at survival because they can see (see the light?). This, Parker postulates, is the reason for the fantastic expansion of new species in the Cambrian Period in earth's history. This is his 'Light Switch Theory' which won him the 'Scientist of the Year' award by The Royal Institution (London) in 2000. It is the evolution of eyes that aided in the evolution of sea creatures, birds and land animals. Parker is convinced that the evolution theory is no longer a theory but established facts. Thus he implies that creationism and intelligent design is not rational.

The main thesis of this book is that there is no way the author/authors of the first two chapters of Genesis can know enough about the Big Bang and evolution to describe so accurately the order of events for the development of life on earth. This and the question of 'what is energy' before the Big Bang is the Genesis enigma. Parker suggests that the answer can only be God.

While the scientist in me cheered Parker on as he describes the various scientific processes in his book, however the theologian in me was troubled by the way he try to fit together the Genesis account and the theory of evolution. Parker's discovery of the development of the eye as the Big Bang of evolution is a major milestone in evolution theory. However I was not comfortable when he applied it to explain the second account of 'let here be light' (Gen.1:14).

This is an admirable attempt to reconcile the theory of evolution with the first two chapters of Genesis by an eminent scientist. However, like eminent theologian Friedrich Schleiermacher in the nineteenth century who tried to reconcile Christianity to the scientific worldview, it creates more questions than answers. There will always be gaps in our understanding of God and his handiwork.

This is a good book and I will recommend it to those who wants to know more about what happens after the Big Bang and how life appears on earth.

Now attend Dr Ron Choong's course on Genesis..

Monday, December 07, 2009

Some Thoughts on Theological Education in Asia


Asia is in a constant flux of rapid socio-economic changes. The church is growing rapidly and there is a need for competent, confident and spiritually matured pastors and leaders. The curriculum for theological education in Asian seminaries is often based on the traditional classic fourfold content of biblical studies, systematic theology, church history, and practical theology. There is a tendency for these institutions to focus strongly on content in their curriculums. Their approach to teaching is usually instructional schooling which is the proven pedagogy for content transmission. Unfortunately instructional schooling has been proven not effective in producing graduates capable of complex decision making, creative thinking, reflective in actions, and life long learning. These are essential qualities for spiritual leadership in the information age. Problem based learning (PBL) with its track record in medical education offers the pedagogy to develop these qualities. Seminaries in Asia should seriously consider a radical paradigm shift in curriculum redesign following the Problem based Learning (PBL) pedagogy.

read more

This is an article I wrote about a challenge to theological education in Asia. I have earlier blogged about some thoughts I have while researching for this article.

Are learning ancient languages useful for pastors?
Are our pastors adequately prepared for ministry?
Do theological education forms or deforms spiritual formation?

Here are some interesting comments on theological education made on blogs recently by an Asian student and a seminary lecturer.

Sze Zeng
Local theological study, church and the end of the first semester
Kar Yong
What my students think of us

Please read my article and let me know what you think.


Sunday, December 06, 2009

Thinking Things Through


The doctrine of providence shows science as a gift from the God who reveals and desires that we know of Him through both nature and witness (Scriptures). In this seminar, we consider how we may reconcile our ancient faith with modern science.


Trust in God assumes a desire to learn more about God. A faith not nurtured by knowledge will remain immature and superficial, vulnerable to doubt and of little use in evangelism. In this seminar, we shall examine the 4 doctrines central to Christian belief – creation, alienation, reconciliation and decision (CARD).


The first book in our Bible was not the first book written. Understanding its history and purpose will help us make sense of its curious stories. In this seminar, we shall ask who wrote Genesis 1-11, where and when they did it, and what their purpose was.

Dr. Ron Choong

Anyone interested in the above topics.

Saturday 16th January 2010
Topic 1 - 10:00am to 11:30am
Topic 2 - 11:30am to 1:00pm
Topic 3 - 2:00pm to 3:30pm

starts 10:00am sharp

Community Baptist Church main sanctuary,
107 & 109A, Jln SS2/6,
47300 Petaling Jaya
(click for map)

RM30 per person, registration is required by SATURDAY 9th January 2010. Limited to 200 participants only.

To register, pls click here and follow the instructions to pay (you will be directed to Canaanland website for online payment). If you have any queries, please e-mail them to This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it . Thank you.

What Are T3 Seminars?
T3 refers to 'Thinking Things Through'. Since we are what we believe, and we believe what we think, it makes sense to think carefully what we think about so that our thoughts may well be thought out.

ACT's signature T3 seminars provide a theological safe space to deal with sincere questions, as we doubt our way into beliefs. Register ahead of time, read the provided handouts and ask pertinent questions during the Q & A.

Saturday, December 05, 2009

Fare Thee Well

The certainty of death and uncertainties of life were themes that run through my mind as I read the book of Ecclesiastes and Dr Leong's online commentary. Only this week, I watched the bitter-sweet Japanese movie The Departures, after reading the review on Kairos magazine. A few weeks back, I drove a seminary classmate around Klang, looking for food and took a wrong turn that ended up at a funeral parlour. Cursing my mistake, I sensed at that moment a 'premonition' that death is near someone close to me.

7:2 It is better to go to the house of mourning
Than to the house of feasting,
Because this is the end of every man,
And the living will take it to heart.
7:3 Sorrow is better than laughter,
For when the face is sad the heart may be glad.
7:4 The heart of the wise is in the house of mourning,
While the heart of the fool is in the house of pleasure.

None of that prepared me for Tuesday when I received news that our dear friend and sister in Christ, Carol Rasiah, has been called home to be with the Lord. She was in coma after a road accident.

I count it a privilege to know Carol personally as a friend. She has a burning zest for life, fiercely independent and never afraid to speak her mind (Mom says she has a sharp and quick tongue). I didn't know she has touched many lives in this USJ forum until after she has passed on...

“Every man dies - Not every man really lives.”
(William Wallace in the movie Braveheart)

At the funeral at Klang Gospel Hall on Wednesday, Pastor Caleb shared that every physical move she made (getting down from wheel chair, cook, get on bed) is a veritable stunt act. He asked her "How did you do it?" (Her bones were brittle, and she suffered from painful multiple breaks on her arms before)

Her reply was, "Before I make any move, I pray"...

We miss her dearly and look forward to the day when she will be rejoicing in her brand new resurrected body in a renewed heaven/earth.

When I see her presence in CDPC, I thought something is just so right when the church reflects an inclusiveness that warmly embraces weak-but-precious persons like Carol to worship together with us.

She is a fighter since birth. Despite the many challenges she faces on a daily basis, pity is not a word in her lexicon. She lived life to the hilt and seemed to be everywhere as an activist for disabled people (check out her last email to YB Hannah Yeoh), care for animals, attending seminars/forums, writing, teaching English to children=neighbors at Angsana flats... last Christmas, my wife and I were at her apartment where she lived mostly on her own. She asked Grace to buy her a Chinese dictionary to pick up Mandarin! She has a vociferous appetite for books and often asked for my suggestions... She is a constant cheerleader for what the Agora tried to stand for.

I have never heard her complained about her lot in life. Never. She requested for prayers via sms when the pain is unbearable. She argued with God about cockroaches but deep down there exudes a confident and intimate trust in the goodness of a Father who took care of her. "Father, If I fall down flat, it's all Your fault". Some of us never lived as beautifully as that.

Here is a recent blog post Carol wrote: "
Sixth of November was a phenomenal day for me. I never realized it until I was with a group of people that night.
That day marked a significant assurance that though I’m appallingly disable and inadequately equipped to meet the challenges ahead single-handedly, my biblical knowledge assured me that God’s collateral was solid. This day marked my two years stay in Angsana alone.

As I laid alone on my new bed in Angsana flats on the first night, with unlocked wooden door. All kinds of asinine & impractical questions zoomed into my mind; it kept me awake for a few hours. I imagine that the biblical characters too must have experience this psychological phobia. They were human being too & God took care of it.

My past reflection are not totally eclipsed, they are fresh on my mind. As I type these words, scenes of it are rekindled, some are like a comedy and some are quite spectacle, like learning to kill a cockroach, how I loathed these crawlies, in fact God & I had a argument over it as I made a lot of fuss over it. The good news is I’ve have learned not to scream or hide in my bed when I see one!!!
Yes, it was not a smooth sailing; there was the emotional turmoil, the social fiasco & personal calamity. It was a unique way of appreciating the God given life.

Another prayer of hers was read out at her funeral

I did not go to church today. I do not feel guilty about it. There is something very ‘special’ in spending time alone with God who is my Heavenly Father, on a Sunday. It is too awesome for words!

God You are amazing. You have taken care of all my needs. I lack nothing at the moment, You have not deprived me of anything, neither have You starved me since the day I have decided to live alone. That why I say You are phenomenal, incredibly & influential.

Your ubiquitous Presence truly comforts me in my time of loneness. Even though it pains me sometimes – I am consoled from memory of Your word & biblical characters. You refresh my memory & soothe my emotions. I have no qualms of Your predominance. The past & present phenomenon’s displays the singularity of Your signature in my life.

Your indulgent to my shortcoming never fail to inspire me to do better in the future. Thank you for Your amazing perceptive.

Thursday, December 03, 2009

Wawasan Penabur

"Dia yang menyediakan benih bagi penabur, dan roti untuk dimakan, Dia juga yang akan menyediakan benih bagi kamu dan melipat-gandakannya dan menumbuhkan buah-buah kebenaranmu." 2 Korintus 9:10
Visi Kami

Menabur, menumbuh dan menyebarkan bahan sumber Bahasa Malaysia yang terbaik di kalangan penutur BM di Malaysia

Misi & Tujuan Kami

Menabur & Menanam dengan cara mengenalpasti, mengumpul, mengembang dan mengedar media sumber Kristian dalam BM

Menumbuh & Mengakar dengan cara bekerjasama dengan penulis, penterjemah, penerbit, pastor, ahli teologi dan pemimpin yang terlibat dalam pelayanan penguatan gereja

Menyebar & Menebar dengan cara berkongsi semua cabaran dan kesempatan dalam pelayanan BM kepada Tubuh Kristus di Malaysia

Disertai oleh beberapa orang pelayan daripada Semenanjung Malaysia dan penasihat-penasihat Injili seperti Rev. Wong Fong Yang, Ps. Alfred Tais dan Ps. Daniel Raut, kumpulan ini telah membuahkan usaha untuk mengumpul dan memperluaskan penerbitan Kristian dalam negara.

Apa Orang Lain Kata Tentang Kami

"Inisiatif Wawasan Penabur untuk mengenalpasti, berkongsi dan menyebarkan bahan sumber Kristian dalam Bahasa Malaysia kepada kumpulan pribumi layak mendapat sokongan penuh daripada kita semua. Pelayanan ini sangat strategik dan merupakan keperluan yang terutama dalam masa kairos seperti sekarang. Hati nurani kita tidak membenarkan kita menutup sebelah mata terhadap keperluan mendesak satu kumpulan Kristian yang besar di negara ini. Gereja di Semenanjung sangat kaya dengan sumber. Kita boleh berkongsi dan bermurah hati sama seperti orang lain yang sudah berkongsi dan bermurah hati terhadap kita. Gereja di Malaysia akan melemah dan tidak dilengkapi tanpa sokongan kumpulan Kristian ini.”

Rev. Wong Fong Yang, Senior Pastor Gereja Presbyterian City Discipleship dan mantan Moderator Synod Presbyterian di Malaysia

"Enam daripada sepuluh orang Kristian di Malaysia menggunakan BM. Mereka merupakan tulang belakang Tubuh Kristus di Malaysia. Tetapi ramai daripada mereka mengatakan mereka kekurangan sumber dalam BM untuk membangun iman anak mereka, muda-mudi dan pemimpin gereja. Kita perlu membentuk satu kerjasama yang strategik dan kreatif, tanpa memandang denominasi dan bangsa, untuk mengembang bahan sumber BM yang terbaik untuk mereka yang sangat memerlukannya. Wawasan Penabur bertujuan untuk menggenapi visi ini. Doa dan harapan saya adalah supaya satu generasi Kristian yang baru akan bangkit, bersedia untuk menyumbang bakat, masa dan hati mereka untuk pelayanan BM di negara ini.”

Rev. Dr. Hwa Yung, Uskup Gereja Methodist di Malaysia

“ Gereja BM and OA perlu memberi sokongan kepada komitmen WP untuk melayani umat Kristian berbahasa Malaysia yang melintasi denominasi melalui penerbitan bahan-bahan bacaan dalam BM. Pertumbuhan iman tidak hanya terhad kepada secara lisan (khutbah) sahaja, tetapi juga melalui bahan-bahan bacaan, dan disalut i dengan tersedianya sumber pengajaran yang baik. Bahan sumber dalam Bahasa semakin susah kita dapatkan dari luar negara kerana sebab-sebab tertentu. Oleh itu usaha WP untuk mengumpul, menerbit dan menyebar bahan sumber dalam BM perlu diberi sokongan dan kerjasama dari gereja BM dan OA.“

Pr. Alfred R. Tais, Setiausaha Eksekutif Komisi Bahasa Malaysia National Evangelical Christian Fellowship

“Gereja di Malaysia masih belum terjaga untuk menyahut panggilan pelayanan BM secara serius. Sekarang adalah masa yang genting untuk kita menebus semua waktu yang terhilang. Kita perlu sedar bahawa Tubuh Kristus di Malaysia bukan terdiri dari gereja-gereja berbahasa Inggris dan Cina di bandar sahaja, tetapi juga sebahagian besar pribumi Kristian. Tidak dapat dinafikan lagi sekiranya umat Kristian mahu membuat satu impak jangka panjang di negara ini, kita harus mengambil satu langkah besar untuk menjawab keperluan mendesak dan yang strategik untuk pelayanan BM.”

Tan Hwee Yong, penterjemah dan penulis puluhan buku BM termasuklah Embun Pagi, Bayu Penghaparan dan Mabuk Sebelum Fajar Menyingsing.

Kunjungi laman web mereka di sini

Pautan lain :

Pusat Sumber Wawasan Penabur
Projek Pemuridan Belia Kristian
Kamus Istilah Kristian