So Bangsar Lutheran Church became an organized congregation within the Lutheran Church in Malaysia & Singapore tribe in 2001. That’s about one year after we got "resurrected" on 1 April 2000. How time flies! I look really thin in these old photos. standing next to me in blue is the current Bishop, Philip Lok. He has more hair then.
One thing I’m learning is what it means to "let go". But before that, I’m also learning the how to "pass on" a lot of what has been more intuitive for the past 10 years.
We had a great meeting a couple of days ago reflecting afresh on BLC’s worship life and ministry. It was good to listen from the other end how someone else understands and re-articulates our vision and practices.
It’s a mixed feeling right now. I’m not sure how it will be when I’m alone miles away. A great friend prepared me for some level of grieving. And I think it will be there. And yet together with grief there’s also gratitude. That’s the nature of transitions.
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There are always consequences to our actions. For better or for worse. On the opposite end, we can never predict how others will react to our choices, but one thing for sure there is no way to control what will come our way.
If we have made a choice, we will simply have to accept what’s going to hit us.
Very often, I wonder why we are so tempted to "justify" ourselves. But that is what usually happens. It is also noteworthy is while we may claim how rational we are, I think the reality is we act out of emotions more than wisdom. Then, we try to re-package the decision with intelligent sounding arguments. Granted, there will be times when we’re cool enough to act wisely, but that check and balance can only be discerned in community. Which community? This is where it gets a little messier. Because our tendency will be to listen and take in the advise from those who agree with us or at least are not so critical in our position. Honest feedback is rare, but the openness to embrace honest feedback is even rarer.
Before we move on to another topic, like it or not, the community in which we work in and are part of is one of the key circle of relationships we must acknowledge and attend to. While we may talk about job descriptions and contracts and so on, the reality of "relations" cannot be ignored. Follow the letter of the law is a minimal, but the minimal usually is not enough. We might not be able to do the maximum, but at least a little bit more than the minimal might take us a long way into the future.
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One of the greatest pitfalls for any person is over-spiritualizing one’s actions. I think the demon of dualism is hard to exorcise. I sympathize with friends who don’t want to have religion at all in public discourse, because in many ways we’ve seen so much damage even in private discernment when "God" is used. But then, as people of faith this is one dimension we cannot ignore, if we truly seek to ask, "Where is God in all this?" The asking is not the problem. What we need to watch is the answer to the question. When we dogmatically claim that "God" is surely endorsing our actions without qualification (whether explicitly or implicitly), we set ourselves up for a higher judgment. I do wonder whether at times, this kind of reply is birthed out of deeper insecurities we have which requires attention.
Another aspect that has been on my mind is how "Greek" or more "Platonic"our views are. We think more in terms of "substance" and ‘forms" and less "relationally". But the fact is, a lot of what is going on in reality is more helpfully understood in terms of "relationality" than "substantially". For example, a certain position or office, we don’t "own" that status. Whatever conferment or recognition we have is in relationship to the body offering it to us whether as a gift or achievement. And while it is true that historically, it can never be erased from our life journey, but in history it is not something we "possess" indefinately. In fact, we will need to admit that we "lose’ our status by our own actions. Whatever comes after that is merely making it clear that this is the consequence of our actions. No amount of theologizing or worse spiritualizing will make a difference.
So, here trying not to sound TOO academic, our actions to reflect our epistemologies (or ideologies), and our reactions and reasonings will show what is REALLY our beliefs more than what is our stated beliefs in public. So, a need pause is never harmful to help us reexamine ourselves.
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The days are flashing by in the speed of light. So this time to blog has become a needed discipline to slow down the push from behind.
Looks like in the coming year 2011, I will prayerfully enter a season where this exercise will be stretched to cover not just the intellect, but the whole being. I look forward to that even though I foresee I will miss a lot of the action which has occupied my attention in recent years.
Mixed feelings. Yes. Hard feelings. No. The capacity to feel … it’s there. As a human being, we don’t have to shy away from it.