Below is a reproduced article that I had recently wrote for City News Print Weekly. It was a report of a speech Former UK Minister Tony Blair made when he stopped over in Singapore last month. He provided his views on global trends and challenges facing today’s world. Enjoy the read.
“The speed of change in our modern world is just too overwhelming and nothing is left untouched by the pace and depth of the nature of change. In our fast-changing world, you cannot stand still,” he said.
It is crucial that one be open-minded. Blair viewed it necessary as “new thinking and new ideas do not come to closed minds.”
In our modern world, where different races, creeds, cultures and religions live side by side, it is vital for individuals to see themselves as global citizens.
Hence, individuals ought to have the humility to learn from others who are different from them. It is when one becomes closed-minded, intolerable and disrespectful toward others, that he or she becomes limited in development.
In today’s inter-connected world, success also is built on partnerships between individuals.
Read the full report here>>>
Last Sunday, Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong presented his National Day Rally speech.
Strangely, the topic of race and religion dominated his speech.
However, in view of the inevitable force that is changing our social, political and economic landscape in our global world, I reckoned that his speech was somewhat a timely reminder and a wake-up call to us Christians.
That force is that of globalisation which is pushing people together even closer than before. And religion or its fundalmentalists and dogmatists are becoming an opposing and dangerous force that divides and threatens our society’s progress.
“Catalysts” for further globalisation
Back in early June, US President Obama visited Cairo, Eygpt and delivered a groundbreaking message to urge an end to suspicion and discord between America and the Muslim world.
He highlighted that “the relationship between Islam and the West includes centuries of co-existence and cooperation, but also conflict and religious wars.”
In a gesture of reconciliation with the Islamic world, Obama further conceded that tension “has been fed by colonialism that denied rights and opportunities to many Muslims, and a Cold War in which Muslim-majority countries were often treated as proxies without regard to their own aspirations.”
Even Tony Blair, the Bristish ex-Prime Minister had launched his new inter-faith foundation called the Tony Blair Faith Foundation this April.
What makes the foundation’s work distinctive is its emphasis on uniting people of different religious traditions in practical action – with the eradication of malaria a key priority at this moment.
The Church’s divine appointment
With this backdrop, I strongly believe that if there is a such divine appointment for the Church to represent Christ in His fullness, it is NOW.
For too long Christianity that was founded upon a legacy of love has been tainted with the worst sort of intolerance and prejudice.
Most troubling of all is witnessing how the teachings of Christ has been hijacked by believers who hate in the name of love.
“When people worship Him today – or even speak his name – the object of their devotion is unlikely to be who they think he is,” said Deepak Chopra in his book titled- The Third Jesus, “it seems clearly that He has served to divide peoples and nations. He has led to destructive wars in the name of religious fantasies.”
Even in his rally speech, PM Lee cited the AWARE saga as an attempted takeover “by a religiously motivated group who shared a strong religious fervour to enter civil space”.
I submit to you that if we Christians truly desire to spread the message towards fulfilling the Great Commission, then we cannot afford to be known or driven by a religious motivation.
As a people, we need to be more concerned about what is right than about being right. We need to be love motived, simply because God is love; being the message is more important than us merely spreading the message.
Christ in this 21st century not only needs to be accurately represented, but also re-presented.