Perhaps I should be writing more than commenting? 🙂 Gathering some material and thoughts this last week. Will see what can emerge … writing is hard work! Commenting is easier…
In addition to Idealism, I think a good dose of healthy imagination will be even better. An important ingredient for imagination is that we don’t lose some childlike creativity and curiosity often prematurely squashed as we move beyond childishness to more mature postures in relating to people and issues.
Critical thinking is often lacking in our Malaysian context. Cynicism maybe also taking a front seat after so many disappointments and failed promises we experienced.
Granted we can’t ignore to the need to be critical and cautious, but let’s not forget the powerful energy that can be unleashed when chastised idealism still has it’s say, and creative imaginations are on the move.
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51. potts (07/21/2008 09:30:38)
Mr Liang, I am continuing this debate only because you have written that Christians should engage in discussions. Not trying to find fault at all.
Honestly, "the decline of law and order" is so broad that it will fit most criteria, including, yes, "issues that affect our society spiritually". The problem is you emphasized that the criteria for acting decisively is when these issues affect our society spiritually. Wouldn’t it be more consistent with what Jesus taught to say that Christians should get involved because we are concerned about the welfare, needs and rights of our neighbour. The focus is on the neighbour and his concerns. Perhaps the Samaritan can in some way say that he was helping the Jew who was robbed and wounded, spiritually. But that’s not really the point, is it?
As for voting on March 8, a Christian can only vote on the choices available. If you have to choose between a candidate that stands for a corrupt regime BUT secular in philosophy, and a candidate that stands for honesty BUT also establishing an Islamic state, you just have to make the best choice you can. What Christians need to ask is what they can do to ensure that they have better choices at the next elections. But if you do nothing, then the next time you will still have choices that you are uncomfortable with.
In Malaysia, Christians tend to be known for only two hot button issues, i.e. (1) Freedom of Religion (e.g. The Lina Joy Case) and (2) Places of Worship including burial grounds.
While these two issues must not be neglected, and it has indirectly forced Non-Muslim groups to work together as seen in visible work of the Malaysian Consultative Council of Buddhism, Christianity, Hindusim, Sikhism and Taoism (MCCBCHST), and are rights we believe enshrined fundamentally in the Malaysian Constitution, it would be a grave mistake on our part to be reduced only to these 2 issues.
The way forward Malaysians and the Christian contribution specifically is for us to move beyond what concerns our immediate communities to wider issues of poverty, human rights, civil and political reform, etc.
A caution for Christians in Malaysia is that we need to guard against importing the issues and tone which dominate American Christianity and politics into our own context (of course, this doesn’t mean we isolate ourselves). This means we need to make more conscious efforts to keep our focus on local issues.