20 Jul 2007

eating in the pews part 2: 4 more Cs...in singapore christianity -- Zoe or Bios?

2. Conduct
So much of what passes off as spiritual content is spiritual lingo. After a few years in the church sub-culture, we learn to say the right things – but as the prophet indicts us, perhaps our hearts are far away…(Isaiah 29v13)
From being late at church, to skipping small groups; from discussing our latest golf scores to talking ad nauseam about the latest dish we ate; so much of our conduct gives away the fact that we live on the bios level. Young people dress just like the models in the media and we older ones have no wisdom to counter-offer them. Does it not matter how our conduct affect others? From the Bible, it definitely does! Yet we are mostly preoccupied with consumption and measuring everything by that yardstick. Church, let us see more radical giving, sharing and Sermon-on-the-Mount type living!

3. Community
The church in Singapore is abuzz with activity and hectivity as she lies on a relational sickbed. Perhaps the greatest give-away that we are being conformed to our world is the poverty of our relationships. Jesus has said that we will be known by our love. A certain quality of relating is meant to mark the Christian community. Do you and I know this first hand? Are we seeking it and living it? I was struck by Paul’s statement to the church: “from now on we regard no one from a worldly point of view” (2 Cor 5v16).
Some bemoan the fact that society is fragmented and the church’s emphasis on age-group ministries deepen this divide. But simplistically lumping everyone together is plain naivete. We need to get beyond the forms to the heart of things and then put in place radical forms that heighten and affirm both reality and truth. With the twin tensions of increasing contact and intensifying depersonalistion in our world ; the church’s relational DNA is truly her best showcase of the gospel’s power to save. It is a power we must unleash.

4. Confusion and Conservatism
Humankind has always tried to remake God in our image. This danger is heightened today. As long as we treat God as a consume-able; we can slide dangerously into the muddy waters of changing our minds and fashioning for ourselves a God that is more acceptable. Perhaps you prefer a Jesus who is more emo, more sensitive, or (!) more retro…?
Trying to fend ourselves against the enemy; we so often foolishly cross swords with each other – when after all, no one has a monopoly on God. We must humbly assist one another to interpret and respond to the revelation given us in Scripture, tradition and current experience. We serve a risen and living Saviour; not a text book model.

5. Conflict
Recently, some spates of conflicts have made it to the pages of the national newspaper. Of course, the media does not owe it to us to celebrate our triumphs; but for the church to turn outwards and seek redress from the world is absurd. There is enough of God – through His Spirit – to unite, bind, free and heal us from everything, if we will but let Him lead. If we see church loyalties as badges of good taste and premium choice we brandy about, we have made a mockery of deep spiritual truths and break our dear God’s Father heart. Yes, one-ness is well nigh impossible. Perhaps this is why we have One who makes intercession for us towards this end. My husband always taught me to love Christ is to love His Bride.
Our witness is bundled with our ability to resolve conflict and move beyond differences and difficulties.

Zoe or bios; the choice seems inane to have to make. But in a world that thrives only on bios; we must be careful to appreciate, affirm and renew our commitment to zoe. And it will not be by sheer willpower, good intentions or right doctrine. As Zechariah was given to understand, it will be by the Spirit. (Zech 4v6)

1 comment:

  1. Well said, Jenni. Now, I hope you'll follow-up with 5 more C's on how now shall we live! :)


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