Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Rojak Spirituality

We (Malaysians) are spoilt for choice when it comes to food. Imagine walking into a giant food court where you can find Penang Laksa, Ipoh beansprout chicken, Indian curry, Iranian kebab, Nasi Padang, Western grilled steak, Hong Kong dim sum – almost everything else you can think of under the same roof. You can choose to eat anything you want. You can mix it up – eat a bit of sushi for appetizer, then chicken rice for main course and finish with rojak for dessert. How about that? 

But for a lot of people, making choices about spirituality or religion is also like eating in a food court. It’s all up to your personal tastes or preference. Some like it hot, others like it cold. It can also be a bit like ‘rojak’ – you just mix up all the ingredients and hopefully it tastes good. “Oh, I like my religion with a pinch of Buddhism, a sprinkle of Christianity, two cups of Lillian Too feng shui and a glass of Hinduism – shaken, not stirred.” What’s your personal religious preference?

So… in today’s society, for someone to even claim that a certain religious practice is wrong or that some religious beliefs are untrue, that would sound arrogant and intolerant. It just doesn’t make sense. It’s as if someone say to you, “You are wrong to choose nasi lemak for lunch today” or “You are a bad person if you chose to eat “char koay teow”. You should have chosen Maggi goreng.” That sounds so intolerant (it doesn’t make sense) because we live in a time of “rojak spirituality”. People choose their faith or spirituality or religion based on personal taste or preferences. You like chocolate ice cream, I like strawberry flavor. You like Islam, I like Christianity, she likes Buddhism. It’s based on what we like. There is no right or wrong answer here.

But truth or reality is not like ice cream. It is more like insulin. When my wife Grace was pregnant with Zhen, she was found to have gestational diabetes. Maybe due to hormonal imbalance, her body does not produce enough insulin to break down sugar in her blood. So what did she need to do? Almost everyday she has to give herself an insulin injection to maintain her health. And she cannot say, “I don’t feel like taking insulin anymore. Let’s see… I think I would prefer to take ice cream instead”. If she stopped taking insulin and choose ice cream, it would be very bad for her health and for the baby. In the same way, we are all sin-sick people in need of a cure that is the gospel. We don’t get to decide what is true based on our subjective tastes. That’s make-believe. Reality is like a solid rock. Just because we don’t like it doesn’t make it false. Just because we like something doesn’t make it true either. When it comes to spirituality or faith, the reason we ought to believe something is because it is true… Truth is like insulin to someone who suffers from diabetes, it’s not ice cream.

I will be preaching on how we can be peace makers and gospel heralds in a pluralistic society this coming Sunday @ City Discipleship Presbyterian Church Puchong.
Time: 10 am
Date: 5 Sept (Sunday)

PS: We have just celebrated 53 years of independence as a nation. At such a time as this in Malaysia, we desperately need citizens who are committed to the common good of all and not just the interests of our own race. Perhaps there is no better time for Christians to be peace makers, to intercede for the well being of non-Christian leaders, sacrificially serve those who are different than us and sincerely invite them to our place of worship for fellowship and conversations… Perhaps that’s what it means to be salt and light in our context here in Puchong…

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

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