Thursday, March 16, 2006

Notice of Change

This blog is now to be found on www.ShermanKuek.net. Quick go!

Tuesday, March 07, 2006

Summoning the Unfit Misfit

My sustained reflections are still dwelling on the issue of returning to God over this season of Lent. God calls us to return to him, but not everyone finds himself in a state worthy of such a return.
Some find themselves inadequate. Others find themselves incapacitated. Yet others do not think that this invitation is issued for them; it's always for others but not for them. Still others find that they have always been the misfits of society who have never quite fit into any given order; why then would they find a place reserved for them at the table of Christ? If you find yourself having just read something here that cuts into the heart of your life's concern, then you are the precisely the person that Christ is summoning to his table of grace. You are precisely the person he would pick out from a crowd just to tell you, "Come, follow me". The table of grace is a table for the broken and the misfits, not a table for the mighty and the lofty. Come, return to the Lord.

Sunday, March 05, 2006

A Job Interview

A friend asked me some questions about my perception of life and ministry. I suddenly found myself feeling as if I was in a job interview, and had to present a "reason" for what I have been doing with my life. I think I fared very badly in this interview; I was too honest. But here is what I said:
I perceive myself as being very frail. There isn't an ounce of determination in me that wants to work the will of God. It's true that I could have gone and done something else with my life, but my journey would still ultimately take me through a search for answers to my existential questions. So I'd still end up going into the theological and philosophical stuff that I'm dabbling with now. I don't see the "fulltime ministry" as something that I'm doing to sacrifice for God's Kingdom. I see it as my own search for answers to my life's profoundest questions. It's more of what God is doing with me than how God uses me to impact people. For this reason, I hardly preach at people. All I do is invite them to journey with me in their struggles. We struggle together, and hopefully find answers together. And we find grace to walk in spiritual friendship towards the cross. That's all I find myself doing in ministry. I have no ambitions.
I know. I can't believe myself either. What better way to fail in a job interview than by telling your potential employer that you have nothing to offer. But I meant exactly what I said. And I have not lost my job yet. Perhaps my Employer seeks workers of a different kind. You reckon so?

Saturday, March 04, 2006

Captured by Grace

Yesterday morning, the students from my theology class were given a treat (hopefully a good one) in the form of a movie. Yes, it was the day for Theology at the Movies! They came to my home and watched a movie that painted a depiction of propositional and relational faith, and how the dynamics of both these dimensions of theology might impact a person's view of life and ministry.
One of the points I mentioned in the reflection thereafter was how the relational Christian lives out a message of grace in his life. Whilst he does not go around loud-hailing the message of repentance, the very embodiment of grace in his life is itself an invitation to repentance. In the movie, we witnessed that reality clearly in the life of a wounded and lonely little preacher's daughter, who approached the misfits of society in all her brokenness and befriended them. She brought healing to those few lives with which she engaged and connected. And in the process, they too ministered healing into her life. How often have we gone to "sinners" and advanced our demands for repentance? As if we were any better, any less broken, any less depraved than they were. The gospel of Christ is about wounded and fractured people being found and captured by grace, and in turn, offering this grace to the rest of the world. The story of grace is most often better told by the misfits and broken people who have experienced fallenness than by the "righteous" who see themselves fit to demand repentance from a broken world. Grace precedes repentance. The way of Christ offers grace. It does not demand repentance; repentance is but a natural response of the one who receives grace. This season of Lent challenges me to once again to be a wounded and broken embodiment of grace that will invite all to come and partake of this grace so freely offered. It has to be a message from one fractured and broken human person to another: "come and be captured by the grace that has captured me".
"God's mercy...goes before the unwilling to make him willing; it follows the willing to make his will effectual."
- Augustine of Hippo -
P.S. Yeah, the students also enjoyed lots of good food from the lecturer's mother. It wasn't exactly rich food; the food was simple. Maybe we can call it Lent food.

Friday, March 03, 2006

Nails and Thorns

This season of Lent is one of contemplative reflection for me. It is to me (in a very personal way) about returning to the Lord. It is about returning in repentance and helpless inability, and asking the Lord to heal, to restore, and to enable me to live a life worthy of his calling and true to his Kingdom. I need mercy. I need grace.
I would like to invite you to journey with me and several other friends in a series of brief daily meditations we have written for this season of Lent. We call it Nails and Thorns (right-click on the link, and select "Save Link As" to download the pdf document). What is the focus of your thoughts throughout this season of Lent? Do share them.

Thursday, March 02, 2006

Hacked!

Logged onto my blog this this morning and was horrified to find only the above message showing. The server of my service-provider was hacked by some people who probably decided to do it on the occasion of Ash Wednesday. Anyway, I only had to republish everything through my usual blogging interface, and everything was restored within less than five minutes. But if you did log onto my blog throughout that duration and found nothing, apologies! All systems go now.

Wednesday, March 01, 2006

Dust to Dust

It is Ash Wednesday. Remember, man, that you are dust, and unto dust you shall return. Let us contemplate our transgressions and bow before the Lord in a posture of repentance. I acknowledge, Lord, that I am born in sin and cannot help but embody the reality of this sinful state in my life. Impart unto me the righteousness of Jesus Christ, that I may dwell in him, and he in me. AMEN.