Love, not judge

Can we say Christianity has come under heavy scrutiny during the past weeks?

Perhaps.

But there has always been a space for silence, where very much has been left to one’s interpretation of a series of text that has been written, passed down and translated hundreds of years ago. The text that we see, read, lift, copy and paste is not in its original language. In fact, one will need to be an expert in at least two languages and understand the historical context in which they were written, to read them in their proper context.

So, much of what people read and glean from the series of text may come from someone else’s interpretation — or worse, by themselves.

The Church has remained divided over the issue of homosexuality – and a myriad of a lot other social issues. Of course, the history of Church does itself no favour and two particular disputes between science and religion comes to mind – whether the world is flat and if the solar system revolves around Earth.

Every other week we hear about how these are the last days. Some have made reference to how the evil of the world during the time Noah was building the ark caused enough anger in the Big Guy Up There for Him to have sent a flood. Only Noah and his family of eight (together with the male and female creatures) survived.

If the Book of Revelation is translated properly (from Greek, which was the language John used when writing it), we know of how God will destroy the world through fire. It is an astounding book to read because it talks about the unraveling of The Big Guy’s plans to judge the world and inflict punishment on all evil.

In fact, He has said that He would judge everyone – man and woman and Christian or non-Christian. And I believe this extends to people of different sexualities.

The biggest issue for Christians living during these post-modern times (I hesitate to use the term “last days” for various reasons) is how to get acquainted with the changes to culture and society. Are we dealing with the issues head on? Or are we going to stick our heads in the sand, ignoring the inevitable? How do we deal with changes?

To a certain extent, there has been a fair amount of silence and people are left very much to fend for themselves. Even if there was guidance, it may sometimes be so profound and abstract that people have to come up with their own practical means of dealing with these issues.

Have Christians not anticipated that certain issues that were deemed unacceptable more than a decade ago would be widely accepted by the society at large? And a decade from now, are Christians equipped with the knowledge to deal with a world vastly different from what it was ten years ago?

How should we deal with the issue of homosexuality? For one, there have been enough literature and academic papers which suggest that it is a sin although it has never been explicitly mentioned in the Divine Book.

Then wouldn’t it be no difference in the way that we deal with a person who, for example, lies?

When Jesus was on earth, He dined with the, er, not so popular people. The Ancient text was also very explicit in one of the rare examples when Holy Anger was aroused in Christ – when He chased the money changers and merchants out of a place dedicated for worship.

Sticking to the Ancient Text, He didn’t form a group to oppose the authorities or other religious groups of the time. He formed a group of disciples – people from different backgrounds – who would continue to further God’s work. They – with Him leading by example – reached out in love.

What does “reaching out in love” mean to Christians in this post-modern era? How much has “love” changed over the past millennia? (IMO, it hasn’t.) How do we love the murderers? Would it be any different from how we love someone who has been caught in adultery? (John 8?) Or that someone who has been involved in fornification?

Then, there is this question of homosexuality and in association, the issue of “nature” versus “nurture”.

Personally, I recognise that this is simply another indication of the fallen world. Perhaps it is really His intention to have created Adam and Eve, not Adam and “Steve”. But surely the fallen nature of this world could have skewed creation in such a way there would always be permutations to one’s personality, character (a predisposition to lie?), physical, emotional and mental infirmities, and (dare I say it) sexuality?

And dare I say it? We (including moi) are all skewed in one way or another.

Extending this argument, can we say that every baby is born with imperfections? What about transgendered children?

I believe Christianity is all about acceptance that everyone is created lovingly by the Big Guy. So by this extension, Christians should be inclusive in love?

So how do we acquaint ourselves with children who are born and are more sexually inclined toward people of the same gender? How do we deal with homosexual adults (who are once children)?

I believe there is a ready answer found in all of the four gospels – Matthew, Mark, Luke and John. It is reflected in Jesus’ life. It has never really left us since the dawn of time when the Big Guy created all man. He has stated explicitly many times against judging one another.

Instead, He made it clear what two greatest of the ten commandments were.

In short, we’ll leave the judging to Him, when He has charged us to love.

Two Fridays ago

Chicken chop with fried rice. (Something that health enthusiasts would frown upon.)
Breast meat. They didn’t remove the skin.

Both of them tucked in. Being someone who isn’t that fussy with his food (as long as he knows that it is not stale), nothing was left on his plate within minutes.

In between their conversations, he observed that a group of peas was left untouched on the side of her plate.

The slab of chicken skin will join them soon, he thought, while making the rather wild assumption that women and skin were mortal enemies of each other.

Then, as she shifted the plate to the side, he was surprised to see the group of twelve peas sitting forlornly all by themselves. The skin didn’t join them.

Presumably, he thought, it must have been ingested.

He didn’t articulate his observation for the fear of making her feel awkward. However, it is not everyday that he would feel less guilty when having lunch with a woman.

A Better Friday

He watched her as she waved goodbye. That smile on her face and the gentle wave of her right hand.

“When can and shall we meet?” he asked her only a few moments earlier as they said their goodbyes.

“Maybe in two months.”

Until that day, they hadn’t met for more than two months. The stressful combinations of his impending jobless status and her never-ending load of overtime work meant that there was no chance he could get her out for dinner.

It was only through sporadic text messages during those “lean” weeks that kept things going. While he tried to pack as much information about the twists and turns of his life (which caused a considerable amount of grief and frustration for him) in those limited less-than-120 spaces, her response was mildly empathetic and disappointingly brief.

His conversations with Miss Psychedelic Colours were always enjoyable and enlightening. There were times when he smiled wryly to himself as he toyed with the idea of how a lifetime would never be enough for him to relish those conversations with her.

For one, he would love to know how art pieces fascinated her. He believed trips to art museums would be as enjoyable. He could picture the both of them moving silently from one art piece to another, drawing upon their own perspectives of how each artist drew inspiration to create each individual work. Then, they’ll gush about their observations later (more conversations!), like how teenagers would after watching their first R(A) film.

With a turn, her back now faced him. He took one last look at her for a short few seconds and went his way. The troubles of yesterday now returned in his head, dispelling all that good, fun and laughter of the conversations.

Yet in his heart, five words repeated incessantly.

Why do I miss her?

From the AOT archives: The Green Hope

The Green Hope

13 April 2002

I have never watched a drama serial as awe-inspiring, thought-provoking and encouraging as this one. After watching all 25 episodes of it*, I cannot help but find myself intrigued over the story, how the plot unfolded, etc. This was one serial that made me ponder over the many important things in life, like family, relationships, and most of all, the meaning of life.

It covered down-to-earth topics like sacrifice for the sake of love (not the boy-girl love thingy, but love in the family), how people suffering from mental condition are viewed by society, and how life should be lived. I felt as if the scriptwriter was trying to tell the audience that all of our lives hinged on one thing: hope.

I guess at the end of the day, all of us subconsciously live on for hope. Hope for better days. Hope for a day when you find our significant other. Hope for a close family member to recover from a life-threatening illness. Hope for a miracle or miracles of life. Hope for the next meal. Hope for the closing of a deal. Hope to get married one day. Hope to pay off your housing loan. Hope that the child will turn out alright. Hope for a grandson. Hope for peace. Hope to save up enough money for that longed-for tour. Hope that she still likes me…

Without hope, it is impossible to continue living. Without hope, life loses its meaning.

It is hope that drives the whole of mankind.

(* – The show ended its run on cable yesterday. Teared at the ending of it, due to an unexplained surge of emotions and irrational thoughts. All accompanied by an excellent instrumental which was the theme for the serial. You can read a review of the serial *in English* here.)