Friday, August 22, 2008

How does a Chrisan Suffer?

This is just some random thought for your consideration. It has been bugging me lately, the issue of 'it is better to suffer for righteousness, we don't have to speak up'. Although that is a noble thought and it depicts a pious attitude is it somewhat 'biblical'?

I would reply by saying that it is half 'biblical' truth. So you might be saying that i am proposing that we retaliate and have fights? No, not at all.

To me, there is something that is lost in understanding how a Christian should carry himself/herself in public. This has been a dilemma in my culture. Christians are depicted as 'nice' people. Sure, nice is a good depiction in some sense, but it should not be that overall depiction of a Christian. To tell you the truth, its a hoax if we subscribe to this world view of being a Christian.

In the context that i am in (Malaysia-Sarawak-Miri-SIB to be frank) a depiction of suffering as a Christian is at most in the context of eating up everything that comes in our way. Say for example being ripped off of ones rights, the way the Christian reacts is they give in, say nothing and say 'it is better to suffer for righteousness'. This is somewhat pathetic to say the very least.

Suffering is always depicted as non-retaliation. Sure i understand that but the non-retaliation is not the same as speaking up if we have valid things to say, be it harsh in a sense that we don't us swear words. What is wrong with that?

I was reading this in 1 Peter 3:17 'It is better, if it is God's will, to suffer for doing good than for doing evil.' It says what it says when we read it but what goes up in the mind when a person influenced by my cultural context reads it? This is how the person reads it "It is better, because it is always God's will, to suffer for being nice in a way that we don't say out a single thing because if we do so we are fighting , than for us to do evil".

I don't know if you agree with me on this or not but i find it to be prevalent in my culture (for those who happen to read this and is not from Malaysia-Sarawak-Miri-SIB). I mean we have to really read and understand what the WORD is trying to communicate to us. There are instances when we read in Acts where Paul speaks up. When i say speak up what i mean is, there are times when we have to argue our case. Read Acts. There was an instance where Paul was about to be flogged and he spoke up that he was a Roman citizen and they didn't even give him a chance for trial yet. Please understand that when i say speak up i don't mean you just rant violently and hurl abusive words. I would explain these cases here as instances where it is not God's will for the person to suffer in his body yet. Because in 1 Peter above it says 'if it is God's will'. Following that one does not have to suffer on all occasions. There are some specific occasions when suffering is God's will.

The other thing that we don't really get is in understanding 'good'. To take 1 Peter again 'to suffer for doing good...'. We read it as 'suffer for being nice'. The verse explains that it is better to suffer for doing good- that would mean a course of action that is depicted as good. Lets get some explanation in some of the things that we define as good. Say we help people. That is good. Lets move on further and define help. We help people as in those who are homeless o beggars on the streets. So we might help them in ways like helping them look for work and stuff like that. But say that these beggars are somewhat controlled by some ring leader who uses them to get money. Sort of the thing we watch in the TV. Because of that we are going against something in society. Say for example this ring leader has associations with those in authority like the police or some politician. I don't have to spell the outcome to you. You will get persecuted for doing good. So i would term good here as in actions that is separate from the bad practices. Remember it says 'suffer for doing good' not being good or nice. There is actions involved!

Let me show you again in Acts 19:23ff. There was some sort of ripple in how the gospel was effecting the society in Ephesus. The gospel that Paul was bringing was making those people who made idols loose business. And because of that they were angry with Paul. There was an ugly uproar in the city. So we simply cannot say that Paul was just being good and nice and all of a sudden people hated him. That is so stupid. To get this kind of reaction from people Paul had to do something good.

Well, i can go on and on on this issue but i think my reflection will be too long and people will not read it if it gets too long. Hope that we be Christians that are not mindless people offering their bodies to be persecuted without knowing if it is actually God's will!

Wednesday, August 20, 2008


I just have to share this with you guys. This is another brilliant DVD (p.s. its not some sort of movie or concert, it's sort of something of an 'in between', that is something between teaching and preaching), clocking about 1 hour 29 mins. There are amazing stuff in there to say the least but i just dig every second of it.

I liked where he explained that the cultures during OT period (specifically Abraham's culture) had this sort of conception of god. That there is simply no standard to know how much offering that one has to offer to appease the gods.

Say for example a person offers his produce to the gods and in the process he gets like more then what he offered. The person is faced with a dilemma. Does he give the same amount that he gave before? Well that would be some sort of mockery to the gods. You ought to give more in accordance to what had been given. Just to make it rather absurd, the gods keep on blessing the person and his offerings are 'mountaining' up. This might sound and look crazy but there was nothing to measure what amount was there to please the gods.

Another scenario is a drought occurs or someone gets sick or a plague hits a village. So people go to the altar and give some sort of offering. But the bad omens still persists. So people have to still give more and more and more until they have to part with something that is very valuable. That is what culture or people in those days cut themselves, offered their babies, you name it, just to appease the gods. But the thing is no one knew the standard. The mentality was people had to give.

But there was some sort of enlightening taking place. Here was Abraham. His story where God told him to go and sacrifice his son, the son in whom he loved. So taking into consideration that the culture during those days understood this as devotion to a deity, Abraham went along with it, no questions asked. But just as he is about to do that God said don't do it. And he provides a ram for the purpose of sacrifice. There, during that period Abraham got this revelation of God, that this God provides and thus shatters the concept of people bringing their sacrifices to the gods. But for Abraham this God is the one who initiates the sacrifice. Amazing.

There are a lot of other things but all in all this is amazing to say the least!

You cannot ask questions...Period!

There is this sort of complexity hovering especially in my culture. It pains me to think about it because you are accused of being angry, ranting baseless views, creating distentions and a lot of things. The thing about the culture that i am living in is that one simply cannot ask questions.

Hard questions, inquiry questions, wanting answer questions, wanting clarification questions, you name it, there is no room for questioning. Not to mention if you are young. OK, that does not really qualify too much but at some points it applies in some cases like if someone is young and has no status (meaning is not a figure, no major qualifications, no money etc...) then the more it validates the issue of the person is not in the position to ask questions.

Wow. That seem like very primitive culture. I guess Malaysians cannot handle questionings. To us it seems like opposition. That is in the political scene. I won't surge in that direction though.

It also applies to Church, which make sit bad for some reason. Questions are supposed to be a good thing. Something that is valid because one wants answers, just some sort of clarification. At some points some questions are somewhat harsh, but non the less are still questions, minus the curse words.

What is wrong with this kind of attitude? Well for one thing, it creates some sort of oppression. That turns to a feeling that there is some sort of conspiracy happening and taking place. Well sometimes there is that kind of feeling. Another thing that might crop up is the feeling that it is not safe to ask. And that will really create robotic kind of attitude. When this happens this kind of attitude will eventually burst, something like the MATRIX movie, where the truth is finally realized.

Questions are important. They open up the mind for both the one asking and the one answering. It also corrects and creates a better way.

Sometimes a simple question may save a movement.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Words that make my stomach sick

Lately there have been some words that have been getting on my nerves. I love these words actually and constantly use them but lately the words have been somewhat 'abused' and now they don't have the same impact that they used to have on me. Here they are:

1. Vision
2. 'Market-place'
3. New Sanctuary
4. Dynamic
5. Impact
6. Cultural transformation
7. Natives as opposed to Chinese culture

Oh well, it's just that the words have a bad taste to my taste buds already. YUCK! I love them but its just the way some people use them. It just makes me sick!

Friday, August 8, 2008


My cousin just passed away yesterday and the whole things just is a shock to everyone in the family. I just couldn't believe my ear when i heard about the news because, i guess because he is family. Today i just feel numb, same as when i got the call. I just feel lost at the moment. Why and how can this happen, it all seems unfair!!! Why God...

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Is this the end...? What will courage accomplish

Just to get a head start in news to those who are readers of my blog (maybe a few :) ) i just did something sort of putting my job jeopardy. No, it's not some sort of sin. It has more to do with justice (ouch that word carries a lot of weight).

I don't really know how to explain about the whole issue as of now, but i am waiting for what will happen this week or these few days. I have written a letter and sent it via e-mail to that someone putting my name on the typed letter.

Honestly, i am sort of scared at what is going to happen. But i just can't ;et this thing prolong on and on and on. What will happen to the church and those working in the future. And i do it for justice. This is by far my first take at reforming.

What will happen?

Hopeful Theo

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OIL TOWN, SWK, Malaysia
I'm a student of Theology (currently and will always be one). I'm a student of culture and a student of music as well. I guess you could say life is a never ending journey of learning. Because of that we never stop being students. Just a little something about this blog: Deconstructing The Monkey is all about being a safe space for emerging conversations