Saturday, July 11, 2009

Reflections on being Exiled

The year has not ended but there is a resounding theme that keeps banging on the doors of my thoughts, mainly the turmoil of being to some extent exiled. I think it is a resounding theme that I keep on going through and one that I seek on reflecting on constantly in many days to come. But one thing is constant when all seems lost, the hopeful expectation of an exodus. 

I find that ministry and theological life in shifting Malaysia, with the parody of old school mentality combined with some western thought patters makes the journey a bumpy one at best. Some parts of Malaysia are clearly premodern in their thought patters and some parts are modern in their thought patterns. The irony is some theological students or fulltime workers do not understand these tensions. Many are still working out their sermons, teaching, ministry patterns on worn out methods (not that there is an ideal method) or doing things based on tradition (how things have always been done). Not many see the need of contextualizing their theological training or biblical preaching and teaching. 

Because of this ministry and theological way of communicating becomes static to those who have no background on these issues. Now is the minister is not sensitive to this, it does not matter how biblically based your teaching might be, you stand to lose a whole generation. 

I think this is the kind of thing that goes around the mind of someone in exile. A parody of anguish and hope. 


Kurt Willems said...

Sometimes it takes the one or the few people who do things in an 'un-orthodox' way to lead out of this kind of exile. Had it not been for those who have gone before me in my context, I would not have the freedom that i have to teach and do ministry in the ways that i do. but what i find, is even after the exodus of moving into the new... the new eventually becomes old and we have to go through this exhausting cycle all over again. Is it worth it, I think YES! Perhaps you will be among those in Malaysia who do church differently and who see great things happen for a new generation...

Tremonti said...


doing things in an 'un-orthodox' way is actually the way to go! Hopefully asian theology would grow and find it's voice in theological reflection in the years to come. Hopefully other younger theologians would emerge soon!

Ray said...

I think in the next 100-200 years that Asian theology will perhaps be the dominant theology as the church is exploding in your area of the world. It will be interesting to see as the shift from the center of Christianity continues to move from West to more Southward and East.

Tremonti said...

Thanks for your insights. As of now there is still little (i'm not saying there is absolutely none) reflection on Asian ways of thinking theology (in terms of books especially, although there some notable ones!). But nonetheless im exited of being in the midst of it's foundational period of where Asian theology is headed. It would truly colour Christianity as it seeks to contextualize it's message to every tribe and nation. The only parody for me is a lot of my own culture's heritage has been lost due to modernity and that it only leaves only wonder to think of how Christianity would look like if the idea of contextualization was realized.

Hopeful Theo

My photo
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