Thursday, April 26, 2007

The Pacifist Jesus And His Warrior God

I attended a very interesting talk on Tuesday during the theology of mission class at Tabor Bible College. Ray Gingerich the Anabaptist scholar from the US was there discussing and conversing on issues of war, power pacifism, and justice etc.

In His introduction, Ray Gingerich said that violence over the past two centuries has not served humanity well. As Christians we must either change our strategies and our theology or the Christians witness in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ the Prince of Peace will be overwhelmed and smothered in the avalanche of violence that is pouring down upon us. He claimed that power as violence has had its time in history; and it has failed! With the explosion of the first nuclear weapons, and their horrible destruction, Albert Einstein said: "Everything has changed, except our thinking."

Many ideas and opinions were explored and debated during this meeting. One particular confusion was 'the riddle' of the Pacifist Jesus and his Warrior God. Apparently much work has been done within the past half century, especially in Anabaptist circles, to enable Christians to see a nonviolent Jesus in both his teachings and examples. This ethical dualism / paradox / dilemma in which a God of violence and acts of violence is embraced as theological and ethical necessities is contrary to the teachings and examples of Jesus.

I am interested in your thinking about these issues regarding war, power, justic, biblical violence and non-violence. Please let me know of your opinions in the comment.

Sunday, April 22, 2007

Thinking Blogger Award

I am thankful to my dear blogger friend Audrey for nominating me for the "Thinking Blogger Award". Thank you sister Audrey for that! I really appreciate it, but so humbled by it!
Now it is my turn to nominate five blogs that make me think. They are: one year bible blog
The participation rules are given by the thinking blog. Enjoy....

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

The Forgotten Way

I started reading Alan Hirsch's book "The Forgotten Way- reactivating the missional church". Alan Hirsch is a a key missional leader, educator, and strategist who has had influence in my journey as I grapple with issues in mission. I remember interviewing him for an assignment when I was at Bible College, and his answers to my questions really blew me away.

In the introduction of the book, Alan had the following two quotes, which really made me think:

"A church which pitches its tents without constantly looking out for new horizons, which does not continually strike camp, is being untrue to its calling.
. . . [We must] play down our longing for certainty, accept what is risky, and live by improvisation and experiment."

Hans Kung, The Church as the People of God

Yes that's true. I am by nature quite an organised & structured person, but this reminder from Hans Kung tells me the importance of not be too rigid in my approach, and the longing for certainty! Flexibility is the key for mission work.

"After a time of decay comes the turning point. The powerful light that has been banished returns. There is movement, but it is not brought about by force. . . . The movement is natural, arising spontaneously. The old is discarded and the new is introduced. Both measures accord with the time; therefore no harm results."
Ancient Chinese Saying

With me in a new season of my life and ministry, this ancient Chinese saying really encourages me (although I am Chinese, I haven't heard of it until I read this book - thank you Alan). The powerful light, the spontanesous movement, the new thing and the turning point are want I am looking forward to.

Alan asked the following important questions in his book which really provoked my thinking (especially in the context of the contemporary Western world / church):

"How did the number of Christians in the world grow from as few as 25,000 one hundred years after Christ’s death to up to 20 million in AD 310? How did the Chinese underground church grow from 2 million to over 100 million in sixty years despite considerable opposition?"

Monday, April 09, 2007

A Morning Beyond Belief

I had an awesome Easter break in Adelaide with my mother, D and his family. During the weekend, I re-read the chapters in Philip Yancey's book "The Jesus I Never Knew" on Jesus' final week and resurrection.

I find the quote from John Irving so true. He said, 'Holy Week is draining; no matter how many times I have lived through his crucifixion, my anxiety about his resurrection is undiminished - I am terrified that, this year; it won't happen; that, that year, it didn't. Anyone can be sentimental about the Nativity; any fool can feel like a Christian at Christmas. But Easter is the main event; if you don't believe in the resurrection, you're not a believer.'

Yancey suggests another way to look at the world - taking Easter as the starting point, the one incontrovertible fact about how God treats those whom he loves, then human history becomes the contradiction and Easter a preview of ultimate reality. Hope then flows like lava beneath the crust of daily life.

After this Easter Sunday morning of celebrating Jesus' resurrection, I renewed the way I approach life - I re-committed myself to involve Him in every aspect of my daily life: spiritual, physical, social emotional, mental (personal growth), family & relationship, ministry, financial, business and community. I will call upon the Lord on all aspects of my life, I will bring all my decisions before Him, and I will not accomplish my ministry, business and work with my own abilities and resources.

Dear Lord, please help me to totally depend on You and trust in You as I learn to take every daily issue of life to You. Amen!

Monday, April 02, 2007

The Voice Of Truth

I am so excited about my new season, yet I am a bit anxious about it all as well! This morning, God spoke to me through this voice of truth. I can so identify with it:

Oh what I would do to have the kind of faith it takes to climb out of this boat I'm in onto the crashing waves.

To step out of my comfort zone into the realm of the unknown where Jesus is and He's holding out His hand.

But the waves are calling out my name and they laugh at me reminding me of all the times I've tried before and failed.

The waves they keep on telling me time and time again. "Girl, you'll never win!" "You'll never win!"

But the voice of truth tells me a different story. The voice of truth says, "Do not be afraid!" The voice of truth says, "This is for My glory". Out of all the voices calling out to me I will choose to listen and believe the voice of truth.

Thank you Lord for your awesome and beautiful voice of truth! I love you with all my heart, with all my soul, with all my mind, and with all my strength. I know I am safe in the crash waves, as You are the Lord who can calm all the raging seas.