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The Unbearable Heaviness of Being

My quest for the eternal lightness

Category Archives: community

I realize that a “speaker”‘s work can be as didactic in its way as a sermon from a church’s pulpit. And I never believed that truth is learnt through instructive teaching or moralizing. It was certainly a challenge to slip into the same shoes again, as I did previously, and to facilitate a team leadership training for a group of 60 bandsmen. 10 years on and I’m thankful that I was able to reconnect with my base in the school band in which I was once very active. Of course, the team has come a long way and doing band now, as it turn out is far more trying than it was before.

The weather was a reminiscent of autumn in Osaka, minus the rain which poured adamantly throughout the whole weekend. I was glad that the team did more talking than I did, which to me was a good thing. And I was enormously taken in by the provocative opinions and the gracious acceptance demonstrated both by those from past and present. The formal salutations were, however pretty intimidating. Hopefully conversations like these will continue.

On a personal note, having gone through a really tiring month, I was really glad I made the trip. Found time and opportunity to:

  1. Read David Sedaris’ When You are Engulfed in Flames which Sue lent me
  2. Try a sip of Bear Beer which Joash recommended (how can anyone drink something like that?)
  3. Have lunch at Smokehouse for the first time – cream of asparagus for startes and Rainbow Trout for main. Paid RM100 – the chinese would say ‘got into the pirates’ ship
  4. Listen to Laura Fygi as I fall asleep
  5. Learn to enjoy Sauerkraut at a German restaurant – eat them with lots of mustard sauce – would taste even better with a bottle of Riesling.

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“… so what is wrong for we true Christians to nip the bud of the deviated faith?

… his agenda is antichrist! …. a spiritual matter. It is the demonic forces at work “

As I read these statements (from an email I keep getting through mass circulation) I am reminded of Kierkegaard’s contention that we are never Christians; only attempting to be one. It reminds us of our fallen nature, how distorted and wretched we all are! Is it possible AT ALL that ‘true’ Christians like us can still be wrong in our approach?

I am not sure how demonizing or labelling someone as being antichrist helps us to walk with him even if he chooses a lifestyle that disagrees with what our conviction tells us. There is more to be done than just shouting loud enough for it to go away.

“… the people feared to protest openly the injustices in their society. Why would people be afraid of pointing the finger at somebody who is doing wrong? Because they knew that if they did, that would be the end of their advancement in society and at work. They did not want to blow the whistle on anybody else because they would get the reputation of being a troublemaker-and there went their future…”

There are more injustices in our society than just the issue of homosexuality; hence the above statement is well said. Are not we ‘true’ Christians also afraid of pointing our fingers at issues of corruption, marginalization, oppression and violation of basic human rights? Afraid of losing the freedom to exercise our faith maybe? This again reminds us of our hipocrisy and certainly turns the table around at ourselves, that we may choose a more gracious way to deal with the issue at hand, as we give of ourselves to the grace of God for all our insincerity. Don’t we ALL need to be redeemed?

Conversations over the weekend revolved around the damages wrecked by leadership in our community; in our social clusters (and in my context, our christ-clusters). It is disheartening that being right and having the right answers justify the rightful leader today.

Reading Dwight Friesen is a refeshing break. Here’s what Dwight wrote that’s helpful for our self-assessment:

Kenosis is leadership within the christ cluster, it is self-voiding of power. It is God who is self-emptying and invites us to share in God’s own life. Self emptying demands openness more than orthodoxy…a leader is one who lives into the reality of self in a community responding to the invitation to empty self in the loving service of other(s).

Self-emptying (however), results in chaos (not havoc) and chaos is the seed of creation and creation is the act of love. Chaos, though never easy, is an invitation to rely on others.

– Hubbing: The ‘Being’ and ‘Act’ of Leadership within Dynamic Christ-Clusters

 

I continually find it necessary to re-examine our leadership view that has created a serious disengagement between ‘leader’ and ‘follower’. I willingly allow myself to rely on someone not because he has all the right answers. In fact, it is impotant that he acknowledges that he does not. But it is the ability of one to lose oneself in order to find oneself (if it is helpful, in Dwight’s words, that God’s sovereignty is that God empties Godself of sovereignty). It is to hear one say, I am not so sure, but I’ll stick with you anyway!  

A word on chaos: I can’t imagine anything more chaotic than to see a scandalously born ‘son of god’ engaging with prostitutes, lepers, pagans. And chaos it was when Nietzsche announced the death of God. But to imagine the chaos when the hailed ‘son of god’ in fact died on the cross. These chaos, had indeed drawn creation forward.

God lets himself be pushed out of the world on to the cross. He is weak and powerless in the world, and that is precisely the way, the only way , in which he is with us and helps us….The bible directs us to God’s powerlessness and suffering; only the suffering God can help. 

Dietrich Bonhoeffer, Letters and Papers from Prison

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I switched off my notebook. Spent the remaining evening cleaning my fish tank.