As Malaysians look forward towards the 13th GE, perhaps it’s a good time to pause and look backward towards the lessons of the 12th GE. The 12th GE is historically significant because for the ruling coalition was denied, for the first time in its long rule, a two-third majority in the Parliament.
It’s no secret that mainstream media in Malaysia have been shackled by the state through various media laws. What is in contradiction here is that Malaysia claims itself to be a democracy and we have periodical elections. Read the rest of this entry
Tertullian, the second century Church Father, famously asked “What have Athens to do with Jerusalem?” where he famously decried the influence of pagan philosophy into faith. Rephrasing this quote, I wish to ask what have “Rome to do with Jerusalem?” In short, I want to ask should faith be separated from politics?
In the past few months, we have witnessed this question emerging in the public sphere with some coming out against the faithful involving their faith into the political sphere while others argued that such a divorce is not an option … if one wants to be a faithful disciple.
The good folks at the Oriental Hearts and Mind Study Institute (OHMSI) is organizing a forum on the Islamic state. If you are interested to attend, please click on this link to see the details and register for the event.
27th August 2012
Bishop Datuk Ng Moon Hing
Bishop Emeritus Antony Selvanayagam
Bishop Datuk Dr. Thomas Tsen
Rev. Dr. Eu Hong Seng
CHRISTIAN FEDERATION OF MALAYSIA
(PERSEKUTUAN KRISTIAN MALAYSIA)
Do you care about internet freedom? On 14 August 2012, the Centre for Independent Journalism (CIJ) invites all netizens and online organisations to support Internet Blackout Day.
It’s the next big step for the Stop 114A campaign. Much like the U.S. Blackout to oppose the SOPA bill, this effort will focus on educating Malaysians about the negative impact of the new amendment.
We invite you to join us and upload a pop-up to your website on 14 August for 24 hours. Please refer to ourGet Involved page, where you can find all the campaign tools you’ll need to support and participate in the blackout.
We urge you to support internet freedom in our country. Please write to CIJ Malaysia at email@example.com or call Masjaliza Hamzah at 03-4024 9840 for further assistance.
As of today, we have the following internet sites on board:
• Free Malaysia Today
• Digital News Asia
• The Nut Graph
• Harakah Daily
• Keadilan Daily
• Nat Tan
• Niki Cheong
• Kajian Politik untuk Perubahan (KPRU)
• Research for Social Advancement, Relevant Facts, Sparkling Analysis (REFSA)
• Suara Rakyat Malaysia (SUARAM)
• BFM Radio
• Anil Netto
• Tindak Malaysia
• Islamic Renaissance Front (IRF)
• Lawyers for Liberty
• Perak Women for Women
• Sisters in Islam
Christi-Anarchy: Incarnating Radical Compassion in our Communities – A Conversation with Dave Andrews
Please join us for a conversation with Dave Andrews for an enriching conversation on how to construct viable spaces for radiating social justice and peace, on building and sustaining communities of hope and compassion modeled on Christian incarnational living, especially in Malaysia’s multi-faith and multicultural context. Described as “weirdy, beardy, proverbially wise-old, kind-old, be-slippered, fire-sided, snoozy, fearless, story-telling, grand-fatherly, rugged, and tribal-leader”, Dave is the perfect conversation partner, guide and guru for learning about how to incarnate Christ’s “extreme” and uncompromising love to the poorest, the least and the lost among our communities. Read the rest of this entry
The good folks at Community Action Network (CAN) is organizing a thought provoking event in the month of August. See details below:
Read the rest of this entry
Better late than never. We appreciate NECF giving some attention to the book, and offering their own contribution to the discussion on Christians and politics in Malaysia. ~ Sivin Kit
CHRISTIAN thought on the believer's involvement in politics can be a minefield of explosive opinions. Some say politics is dirty and Christians should not get involved but instead live peaceful and quiet lives. Others feel it is enough just to pray for our nation but act no further, for we are to submit to the governing authorities.
Yet others believe it is necessary for the Church to speak up on political issues that concern justice and public welfare, but that the pulpit should never be partisan in the sense of endorsing any party. Individual Christians, however, are free to choose their affiliations.
Into this spectrum enters The Bible and the Ballot, a joint publication by Graceworks and Friends in Conversation (FIC). One of the book's essays propose that in certain situations, it is alright for a preacher on the pulpit to advocate support for a particular party or condemn another. This is if one party “far better 'fits' the image of justice and forgiveness than another”. It is argued that a preacher making such a recommendation is not necessarily being partisan.
Such views are bound to ignite debate. NECF, for one, subscribes to the theological position of American theologian Carl FH Henry that the Bible has no mandate for the institutional Church to use the name of Christ in endorsing election candidates, laws or policies. Of course the Church must speak against injustice, but when she does, her mandate is to state the biblical criteria by which all people, including human agencies like government, are to abide. And God does lay down the standards expected of governments. The prophetic books of the Old Testament are replete with such injunctions to the evil kings of Israel.
Henry once said, “The church must do a more effective job of enunciating theological and moral principles that bear upon public life”. In the course of doing that, however, the Church may be misunderstood as being politically partisan, even if that is not her intention. In the general course of things, though, the church should not get into endorsing specific political solutions, unless perhaps, there are clear instances where the government acts against the very fundamentals of human existence. It is for further debate to define the criteria of such instances where the Church has to make specific endorsements, such as the times Dietrich Bonhoeffer lived in under Nazi Germany.
Whatever your view, The Bible and the Ballot is a thought-provoking read. It is worth some scrutiny for any Christian eager to take the discussion on engaging the public sphere further.
Public sphere engagement is a topic rarely addressed from the pulpit but is clearly something the writers in this book have wrestled with. Alwyn Lau argues for naming names from the pulpit, citing specific episodes in Scripture where evil doers were called to account. Christopher Chong writes about the public's role in strengthening democracy. Joshua Woo looks at how and what to pray for in politically complex situations. Rev Tan Soo Inn outlines the reasons why he would vote for a change of government, citing “mismanagement and corruption” as a top reason. Rama Ramanathan reflects on his participation in illegal assemblies as the power of physical witness. Rev Sivin Kit in the book's “Afterword” ties all views together in a conclusion on how Christians can be a blessing to Malaysia. The book carries a Foreword by Rev Datuk Ng Moon Hing, the Anglican Bishop of West Malaysia.
The writers, a few of whom are in academia or seminary, are members of FIC, an online forum of Christian discussion on integrating faith, spirituality, community and society.
The book retails for RM15 per copy and is available at Canaanland bookstores.
How can ordinary Christians impact the world in timely and substantial ways? How can we ‘perform’ a theology of social justice in a hurtful and hurting world? Is it even possible to connect our theological doctrines to issues like poverty, oppression, ecological problems and so on? Does ‘God talk’ have anything to do socio-political conversations?
Please join us for a conversation with Dion Foster to explore these questions. Through his many years as an ordained minister and globalizing systematic theologian, as well as his work in Christian advocacy, Dion will help us connect our most fundamental theological principles to personal and communal efforts to make real and deep changes in our world today. Dion will be joined by Chris Chong from Friends-In-Conversation.
Date: Monday 9 July 2012
Venue: Bangsar Lutheran Church
Organised by Friends-In-Conversation
About Dion Foster
Dion A Forster (PhD. Science & Theology) is International Campaign Coordinator of EXPOSED, International Director of Unashamedly Ethical and the Dean of John Wesley College at the Seminary of the Methodist Church of Southern Africa in Pretoria, where he lectures in Systematic Theology, Ethics, New Testament and Greek. He also teaches at the University of South Africa and the University of Pretoria. An ordained Methodist minister, Dion is a sought-after preacher who also has a weekly radio program.
About Chris Chong
Christopher Chong is a member of FIC and holds a political science doctoral degree. His research interests lies in the intersection between faith and politics (with particular reference to Christians in M’sia). He teaches at a private university.
Friends-In-Conversation is a friendship of followers of Jesus who are called to participate in and create a safe space for reflective and constructive conversations on faith, spirituality, community and society, leading to embodied possibilities and deeper engagement. We are also in friendship and conversation with people of other faiths, to deepen mutual understanding and appreciation, as a foundation for constructive partnerships in a pluralistic society. We believe that creating a space for such conversations requires the firm foundation of friendship – hence the importance of trust, humility, generosity, affirming speech and emphatic listening in all our engagements.