Post conference thoughts from Singapore & Malaysia


I managed to take this picture while sitting on the bus to cross the causeway from Singapore to Malaysia. It’s interesting for me at least to note how different Singapore and Malaysia is even though we are so close as neighbouring countries.

It’s interesting to read the post pomo youth ministry conference responses from the blogs and to see what people from either Singapore or Malaysia got from Tony & Dan’s sessions.

I’ll just pick some quotes (avoiding any comments)

and now 2 posts from Singapore … I think both are pastors …
Postmodern Youth Ministry Conference
“The correct answer is correct, and an incorrect answer is incorrect, whether we believe it or not. The actual truth is true, even if not one person anywhere believes it is true. If an objective reality stands behind life, that reality defines the way the world functions. Attempt to bypass this reality should carry the surgeon general’s warning: “Ignoring truth is hazardous to your life and sanity.” I do not want to drive across a bridge designed by an engineer who believed the numbers in the structural stress models are relative truths. Things follow rules, or an authority structure. Chemical element do not change the way they interact without good reason. It works because we can trust in the absolute authority of laws governing reality. Absolute truth empowers us. Once we learn what the truth is as well as its structure of authority, we can move out confidently, trusting in the authority structure that governs life. Functioning in a world without absolute truth and the authority behind it would be hideous experience. We could then trust nothing. We must understand that truth matters and that ultimate truth makes all the difference in a person’s life.”

Postmodern Youth Ministry
” … To sum up on Tony, I felt he is, indeed, a very well-read and passionate person who is deeply convicted in his postmodern theology of youth ministry. I actually wished he had more time to speak more on the issues at greater length. I think in its brevity, he may have rushed past the important thought-process of grappling with postmodernism and jumped too quicly to the conclusion and “answer” of the matter, i.e. that we are to rejoice that our Christian God is greater than any modern theories or prepositional truths about HIM. To be fair, the spectrum in PM (Postmodernism) is pretty wide and i had actually secretly wanted him to speak more on the French philosphers and the other Big names (Nietzche, Sartre, or even Kierkegaard, whom many believed to be the father of postmodernism, a brillant and progressive Danish theologian and philosopher) who had influenced this “fad” today.

… i really like Dan’s sessions very much, just like almost everyone did at the conference, for he provided us what we wanted to hear all along, the how of postmodern youth ministry. But what impressed me most about Dan was not his hair nor his experiences in emerging churches, it was his humility which caught my attention the most. Maybe it’s his shyness but I think beneath that shyness hid a true humility of a simple and faithful Christian servant. I remembered him in his first session, without any presumption of our culture, repeatedly reminding us that his culture is different from ours, and we should contextualise them to our needs accordingly.”

and some posts from my friend Chris from Malaysia
Impressions from YS Post Modern Conf. – Singapore
“I think the discussion on post modernity does not end here. Each of us must have a firm grip of our culture, be deeply immerse in the Scripture and workout what all these means and how they interrelate in our present time.”

“It would not be accurate to say that post modernity does not affect the east. In recent years, phenomenon such as globalisation, the influence of media, the growing use of internet has made the East share the many struggles that exist in the West. For Malaysian, you only have to take a look at a local video called ‘Sepet’ to understand this behaviour.

I believe, the group that is mostly affected by a new world where there is the merging of various ideas, cultures and traditions are the youths. I have noticed certain new ‘mind-set’ developing in the lives of our youths. The difference between the youth in the east and those in the west: the content of their behaviour. The youths in the west are reacting, responding to their culture, where else in the east youths are being influenced and imitating the belief & practices of the west.”

I’ve already scribbled some thoughts on …
my first impressions on the conference
how the word “Glocalization” caught my attention
the importance of asking basic questions on “the kind of atmosphere” (cultural climate) we are living in
a needed corrective on how we worship corporately
it’s not just about information but moments for transformation
so how do we embrace the messiness of our world and move beyond a mere yes/no & black/white response

Personally, I felt it was good finally to have a chance for our friends from USA to interact with us here … in South East Asia … a bonus for me also is how we in Malaysia and our friends in Singapore will be working out our answers in the midst of the messiness and massive changes in our world.

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