Time for the Church to Love

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.

The World’s Highest Paid Politician is…

Yesterday, UK Times published a report on the top 10 highest paid politicians in the world. And it is not too difficult to guess who tops the list.

It’s none other than Singapore’s  Prime Minister, Lee Hsien Loong.

Read the report here>>>

On a seperate but related matter, here was PM Lee’s most recent reply when queried by BBC if he was worth all that money:

“I am not comparing myself and I don’t look at these rankings. We go on a system which is open, honest, transparent – what is the job worth, what is the quality of the person whom you want.

We need the best people for the job and these are jobs where you make decisions which are worth billions of dollars. And you cannot do that if you are pretending and you just say, ‘Well, we are all in it for the love of King and Country’.

We want it to be honest, we want people not to come in for the money. But at the same time the sacrifice cannot be too great. And at times like these, you want the best possible government you can have.”

Interestingly, this part of the interview was not published in our mainstream media.

So where’s the “open, honest, transparent” part which PM Lee had boldy talked about?

Read more about the BBC interview here>>>

Nation Building or Party Building?

Some time ago, I came out from a Grassroots Induction Programme feeling intoxicated after being overly-fed with PAP-ganda.

This was a session organised by the People’s Association (PA) and I was there to discover more about the overview of the association.

Interestingly, the PA’s vision is “to be a leading organisation in building an active community where all contribute readily to the nation.”

However after listening to the speeches and reading through the handed materials, I concluded that the vision of the PA should be more accurately communicated as “contributing readily to the PAP”, and not our nation.

In fact, after understanding that the PA’s existence was to achieve a political objective- “namely to strengthen the Government’s presence among the people” to counter the communists’ stronghold, it seems that this association is some what a white elephant.

With the communist threat out, why do we need PA?

The PA- Party’s Association

Isn’t the PA supposedly a people’s association? Apparently, all of their board of members are PAP politicians led by the chairman, PM Lee Hsien Loong.

Mind you if the PA is indeed for the people, I think it would have been appropriate for representatives from the opposition parties of Potong Pasir and Hougang to be part of the board in contributing to our community.

Well, it looks quite clear that the PA is just another one of the PAP’s lap dogs to propagate its party’s agenda (please note party, not nation). Another top-down approach.

More down-up approach

Even the NTUC, a union set up for workers is no longer for workers. This is apparent when we see that the core leadership is headed by PAP ministers.

Presently, Mr Lim Swee Say who holds a ministerial portfolio in the Prime Minister’s Office is the union’s Secretary-General.

Such institutions such as the PA and NTUC should be voicing the opinions of the people. But these days, the reverse of the government talking down to the people is more obvious. When this overly happens, we need to be wary as the people like you and I will be least heard more and more over time.

Here is an excerpt from a letter in ST Forum that best describes the unhealthy socio-political state we are in:

“Instead of CASE taking up the cause on behalf of investors, it is former Income chief executive officer, Mr Tan Kin Lian.”

Mr Chua Sheng Yang

I really wonder how CASE being affliated and part of the NTUC family forgot to protect our consumers’ interest? Maybe if you know the answer, please share it with me.

Enough PAP-ganda

When I wake up, I am in my HDB flat. I make sure I switch of my SP Power-ed lights before I leave my home to take either the SMRT or SBS Transit transport to work. If I am late, I would  call for a Comfort Delgro cab on my SINGTEL mobile. My route to work will pass by POSB, SP, ITE, NUS, NUH, ST Kinetics, JTC, AH and A*Star. And work gives me money to contribute to CPF and GST,  and also to relax and watch MEDIACORP tv and read SPH papers.

Every where we turn, we see them. I believe fellow Singaporeans are getting sick and tired with each passing day by being “talked down” in what we need to do and what not to do.

“Marry early”

“Make more babies”

“Put money in CPF and can take abit out when 55”

“Put off retirement and work till 65”

“Pursue education”

Every where we turn, we hear the same party’s voice.

If it is not enough that we have to leave full decisions of our nation into the hands of the ruling party, it is equally disturbing that when we choose to speak up and voice our opinions we stand a high chance in getting slap with defamation like Dr Chee Soon Juan or the late JBJ.

So the question begs to be answered: Is what we’re claiming to be building for our nation or for a party? I leave that answer for you to decide.

Blogger’s Note: This entry was also published on The Online Citizen (TOC) on 28 October 2008