Tuesday, December 13, 2005

Things That Stick With Us

You know, there are certain things that stick with us, the shapes of our eyes, a culture that once was and will never be again, defining an age, our upbringing, background and history, the rise and fall of the Roman Empire, windows 98, feminism, the World history, and of course our personal acheivements, life's highs and lows, disappointments and frustrations also stick with us.

Today, I received an invitation from Melbourne Pastors Network to pray every Friday for Jesus to reveal Himself to Muslims in Australia with a focus on their key leaders. The followings are the invite, and I am committed to be involved in this prayer network as I know the impact of this will stick with me for all eternity. I'd like to encourage you to join this if you feel led. Here it is....

Join 1,000,000 Christians every Friday in prayer for:

1. Holy Spirit revelation and blessing to the Muslim community in Australia. That they might sense love and not fear from the Christian community.Especially for the MUSLIM LEADERS who attended the Prime Minister’s Summit in August. (See list:
www.immi.gov.au/multicultural/mcrg/05.htm)This month pray for IKTIMAL HAGE-ALI , who is the Deputy Chair of the NSW Youth Advisory Council. She was appointed to the council by the NSW Government.

2. Compassion and wisdom for Parliamentary leaders in their relationship to the Muslim community and for those who work with them.

3. The protection and strengthening of our Christian heritage .

RACIAL & RELIGIOUS TOLERANCE ACT - GOVERNMENT REVIEWSome church leaders and some other faiths recently met with members of the Dept of Premier and Cabinet and the Victorian Office of Multicultural Affairs to hear the government's views on the act. Despite previous appeals against most of the act by churches, the amendments raised by the government were basically to provide stricter penalties. The church representatives were able to present a detailed submission and justification for major changes or a complete removal of religious aspects of the Act.
Please pray for this on-going negotiation which will have great implications for the Church in Victoria.See:


Corry said...

I always shudder a little hearing the word "penalties", just like with punishment and judgement. I guess it's because I believe we are neither to judge eachother nor to condemn, let alone, punish others. That is up to God.
One day it will all be set straight:-)
We keep spreading the word and be a testimony, all done in and out of love and pray they will see the Light.

God's Grace.

Kitty Cheng said...

I agree with you totally there Corry. I believe that only God has the right to punish, and set things straight.

Unfortunately even when we do things out of love, it can still be seen as 'religious intolerance' according to this law. **Sigh**

Corry said...

I know what you mean. The big question they should ask is: Who determines, or rather has the right to determine, what religion everyone should live by and if they have the right to impose/force everyone to live by their determination. What happened to freedom of religion? Maybe that is the best question, haha.

God's Grace.

curious servant said...

You can count me in with one slight change...

I would like to expand the prayer to a global prayer rather than limit it to Australia.

Kc said...

I'm in.

An Ordinary Christian said...

I am really glad that you are involved with this, and so glad that you have a heart for your community. I was touched how the prayers were worded - for the Muslims to see and understand Christian love. I heard a Jewish person say that she had never known the love of God, the feeling that God loved her individually. The reality of our God is that He is a God of love and personal love to our soul. Keep us posted. Thanks for your prayers for me by the way - I so much appreciate it - God bless you!

Kitty Cheng said...

"What happened to freedom of religion?" is a great question Corry.

Kitty Cheng said...

thanks cs and kc for joining in the prayer....yeah cs, expanding the prayer to a global one is an excellent idea. I should do the same too :)

Kitty Cheng said...

Dear Andrea,
Yes our God is the lover of our soul. You're so welcome...will continue to keep you in prayers dear. What you're going through is not easy, but the Lord is with you every step of the way.

Corry said...

Hey there "little black kettle", hehe. I forgot to mention that I am in with the prayers:-)

God's Grace.

Kitty Cheng said...

That's great Corry. Praise the Lord!

Maryam said...

Hi Kitty and everyone,

Just to provide an alternative perspective, for someone like me the racial and religious vilification laws are really important.

We don't have absolute free speech in Australia, you can't yell fire in a crowded theatre, nor can you libel or slander somebody. Rousing hatred like that seen in Sydney last weekend, is the very real end result of racial and religious vilification against a vulnerable minority community.

As a white, Anglo, Muslim, I don't have protection under current racial laws, and I've been on the receiving end of abuse - being sneered at, told to F off and 'go back home', and now I really worry about this current spate of violence migrating south.

At anyrate, I just wanted to let you know this has nothing to do with freedom of religion - Christians can still believe that Muslims are not saved, and that Islam is not a godly faith, but creating xenophobia and rousing up hatred against someone on the basis of their race or religion *is* a crime that warrants punishment, just as much as any other crime we have penalties for in this society (theft, murder, slander etc.)

Umm Yasmin

Kitty Cheng said...

Hi Umm Yasmin,

It's sooo good to hear from you again. It has been a while hasn't it?

I agree what happened in Sydney last weekend is a racial and religious vilification against a minority community. And what these people did was certainly wrong.

However, my understanding is that this legislation has a lot to do with freedom of religion. The Christian leaders prefer for the religious aspects to be removed entirely from the Act because it doesn't allow them to share their faith openly, even out of love. I believe sharing publically one's beliefs is not the same as creating xenophobia against another religion.

Thanks for your comment, and I am so sorry that you have received abuse from ignorant people.

May God Bless you!

Maryam said...

Hi Kitty,

It's been ages, so I hope you are doing well. I haven't been on the internet very much over the past few months but the Christmas holidays have afforded me a bit of leisure time, praise be to God.

"However, my understanding is that this legislation has a lot to do with freedom of religion. The Christian leaders prefer for the religious aspects to be removed entirely from the Act because it doesn't allow them to share their faith openly, even out of love. I believe sharing publically one's beliefs is not the same as creating xenophobia against another religion."

My own understanding is that it is more complex than being a freedom of religion issue. I absolutely agree that sharing publically one's beliefs is not the same as creating xenophobia. The problem is when you start talking about somebody *else's* religious beliefs.

For example, if I (as a Muslim) began misquoting the Bible in a country where Christians were a vulnerable minority to an audience that knows practically nothing about Christianity, imagine what the reaction would be if I informed other Muslims that Jesus' followers were violent militants (Jesus said: "I came not to send peace, but a sword"); that he encouraged the complete destruction of family values (Jesus said: "For I am come to set a man at variance against his father, and the daughter against her mother, and the daughter in law against her mother in law. And a man's foes shall be they of his own household."); and that Christians had the secret goal of overthrowing the government (Jesus said: "No man can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other. Ye cannot serve God and mammon.")

Imagine if that small Christian minority did not have much of a voice to protest that this selective misquoting of the Bible was completely against the tenets of Christianity - even though there were some violent Christian sects like the Branch Davidians that did not represent all peace-loving Christians - and pretty soon Muslims felt they had enemies in their midst. That it might be better to send them back home from wherever they came. And that when they heard of a couple of Christians breaking the law and hurting a couple of Muslim lifeguards, that they would gather in a huge rally to show these Christian interlopers a thing or two.

The problem, Kitty, is that all that claptrap I just said about Jesus and Christianity and Christians has no real bearing a) on the truth b) on the freedom to practice my own religion. It is *not* a tenet of free Christian belief to be free to misquote the Qur'an so as to instill others a fear of Muslims.

Imagine we lived in pre-Nazi Germany, when Germans (and in fact most Europeans) were being fed all sorts of lies to whip up fear and hatred towards Jews. Things like, Jews sacrifice their children, Jews are responsible for ruining the economy, Jews are part of a huge secret cabal that wants to rule the world. Imagine that if someone sensible in the German government drew a line and said "No, it is not acceptable to publically say these things about a vulnerable minority." Just perhaps, we have the opportunity to prevent another holocaust.

Kindest regards
Umm Yasmin