Sunday, July 26, 2009

Lukewarm

Today, I understood why being lukewarm is bad, in the most personal way that has brought a chill to my spine.

Remember the classic story in every Introduction to Psychology textbook that tries to give an example as to what bystander effect means? This was in the news some time ago (I believe it's in the 1960s). In Queens, New York, a lady called Kitty Genovese, was coming home from her work at the bar. A male stabbed her, and while she screamed for help, not one among the 40 people (an estimated number who heard her scream) in the neighborhood took action. There was even a man who turned up the volume of the radio so he would not have to listen to her scream. Until someone in the neighborhood shouted at the attacker to leave her alone, was she left alone. As she stumbled along into her house, the attacker came back for the second time, stabbed her a couple more times, raped her, and then finally killed her. Nobody helped her nor called the cops, even though some heard her, while others watched the incident.

So often, we turn on the news at night and hear about how broken the world is. We feel angry at the terrorists and murderers, and our hearts were saddened by stories of abuse, oppression, rape, etc. But never once did we realize that we could be worse than terrorists, murderers, oppressors... It never came to us that we might be more evil than they are, because we know, and still do nothing about it. The terrorists are at least living their beliefs; the murderers and oppressors are living their passion for evil. We, however, are living passively, watching all the evil things happening around us, not casting a sound. Silence means consent; by not saying or doing anything, we agree to the murders, rape, and abuse... And we call ourselves followers of Jesus.

This passivity is like maggots eating at our bodies - our hearts are not genuinely alive; for if it is, our actions must follow. We must be proactive in our faith. Start by making a sound, one may not make a strong impact, but one who is passionate is enough to spark the beginning of a movement.

We live in a broken world. Ritz Carlton and Mariott were just bombed in Indonesia. People are still dying from starvation, diseases, murders, oppression, and other evil. Do we need to have our relatives and loved ones to die as victims before we start doing something? Do we need to have one of our limbs blown off by the bomb before we realize how much the world need us to create a change? Being lukewarm is not only bad, it is dangerous, especially when it comes to a faith such as ours, for our faith requires us to be proactive.

Let's start thinking about what we can do in our community. What does life require us to do? What do the people around us need the most? Ultimately, let's start creating a future for our country.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Earning The Right

Some thoughts are by-products of reading Erwin McManus' book, called An Unstoppable Force.

McManus says something like this in the book: in the past, we never called ourselves Christians, we just followed what Jesus did and then the world somehow called us Christians; now, we call ourselves Christians, and the world calls us hypocrites.

How ironic. Perhaps we need to earn the right to be called Christians again; maybe we need to do something so we deserve to be called God's church once again. In the past, we have done too much damage; in this life, we must bring restoration. It is our job to fix things that have been broken by our ancestors.

How nice it will be if people know us by the things that we have done and not by our Christian labels! How awesome it will be if people refer to us as "the guys who brought hope to us because they taught us how to make straw hats", or "the guys who brought us life because they gave us a cure from HIV", instead of "they are a Christian organization (ie. church), they'll do something".

Perhaps it is time to reconnect to the world and meet the needs of everyone around us. We have done too much hiding in the past - hiding behind God's sovereignty. We believe that God will take care of everything and run away from the responsibility of bringing change in people's lives. Ironically, the world doesn't believe God will intervene, so they ended up doing something on their own to bring help. I wonder who seems more like Jesus' hater now, the world that somehow tries to establish God's kingdom by bringing hope of life, or the Christian guy who hinders the establishment of God's kingdom by being idle?

God is inviting us to participate in His creation of the future; it's time to take a step forward.