Should Christians Participate in Politics

In Hong Kong, it has been politically tense with the debate over whether Hong Kongers should have a say in who get nominated in the proposed “universal suffrage” in 2017. Hong Kong people in general want to have universal suffrage, the rights to vote for their own Chief Executive Officer and their Legislative Counsellors. The pan-democratic legislative counsellors have been pushing for it for decades, and finally it’s pretty much assure that we would at least get to vote for our CEO in 2017, however, the discussion now rest upon who actually decide who will get nominated and voted for. 

From the situation right now, Beijing is saying that its self-appointed nomination committee will nominate candidates for the election with 50% approval. 

The general population in Hong Kong and especially the pan-democratic parties are afraid that we would end up with candidates that we don’t want to vote for anyway, and thus is proposing citizen nomination, and a lower percentage of votes from the nomination committee rather than the 50%. I think we are going for maybe 30% of the Beijing appointed nomination committee vote. 

To push for what the pan-democratic called “real” universal suffrage, three men, Rev. Chu Yiu-ming , HKU Law Professor Benny Tai Yiu-ting , CUHK Sociology Professor Chan Kin-man,started the “Occupy Central with Peace and Love” movement. Which is basically a movement to literally hold rally and sit in at Central to ask for “real” universal suffrage. There is no seat in and rally yet, but they said there would be one if there wouldn’t be an election for Hong Kong CEO which abides by “international” standard.  

All three of them are Christians and they are asking others to follow them, if necessary, to participate in civil disobedient. 

My church is a very politically lukewarm congregation and its leaders interpret Romans 13 that we, Christians should obey all authorities. 

The debate over universal suffrage and being for and against the government is so strong that it does drift people apart at church, especially when a group preaches their stance. Currently, the leaders do promote the “obey all authority” and don’t complain and voice out stance. I find that to be outrageous, we, Christians, no matter what our views are, should discuss these things so I really welcomed the political issue talk at church even though I do find it to be rather late. 

After the talk there was a Q & A session and a well-respected older brother asked, “Would Jesus occupy Central if He was here?” The speaker said, “No.” 

Another asked, “Is it problematic to be politically indifferent?” 

“No, there is no problem.” 

I found these questions to be very interesting. The second one seems to be very self-assuring. I am not too satisfied with the answers however but I understand that the speaker was in a difficult spot, but I wish he was more comprehensive and complete in his answer. 

Robin Williams

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lGl91Uk47jQ

It’s been a tragic week with the passing of the great American actor, Robin Williams. I grew up watching Robin Willams like many people of my generation. The lost of this phenomenal human being a great shockwave of sadness across the world. It’s hard to imagine someone as funny, kind and generous like him could end up hanging himself. Yes, it did seem that he was from another planet and we knew he had problem but never imagined it would end up like this.

Williams is someone who offered and gave the world a lot. He made people laugh but he was struggling with depression. I do think that people like him take a great toll on their emotional health, life in general.

We know he is a sympathetic, generous and kind man. People have nothing bad to say about him. He failed in his previous marriages, was addicted to cocaine and alcohol, he fought both of them, won the first and was still battling the second. Aside from his memorable movies and TV shows, he did a lot for others discreetly. He made Christopher Reeve laugh after the accident, he visited the troops, he bought a bike for Conan O’Brien when he left Today’s Show, he used his star power to help others with their projects. He had sympathy for the homeless and made a film about them. Maybe the diagnose of Parkinson Disease and seemingly slow down in his career was too much for him. Why was he depressed? In his performance, he was often seem as he was possessed. 

In turn, I think pastors, those with hearts for God are the same. They give. They give so much, sometimes as if possessed and it does take a great toll on their lives and families. 

I feel like I am like Robin Williams at times too. During the short-term mission I went with TC Church with some brothers and sisters and I really had a great time. I had a great fellowship with bros and sis at my “old” church but at the same time I am hiding a lot of sadness and even depression. To them I am this sunny, shinny, funny, hilarious, optimistic guy but deep down there is a sadness. There is a thought in my head that I am leaving, but I really don’t want to, but if I don’t leave, it might hurt a lot more and more permanent and I might end up in a place I can’t get out of. And it’s really out of my hands because there are leaders, powerful people in church who have made a mission out of hurting me. 

Pastors, pastor’s kids, we often hide the pain, the rough ends, the shits, the crap, the evil from others. But we don’t get treatment, most of us can’t afford professional treatment and are afraid what others might think of us if we do but we do get hurt really bad. 

I really do think there should be confidential counseling program for clergy and family. We really need it. Maybe that is something I will do.

I have decided to leave my “old” TC church as I start this new academic year. It’s coming up really soon and I find it really hard.  

Thank you so much Robin Williams. 

What to do with these people?

What do you do with these people?

This is a question that I have been pondering. So I have this guy, old mentor who just bash pastor and deacons yet he still shows up at the fellowship as a leader. He is clearly not a role model, he’s out of control yet he and his wife still influence the fellowship tremendously and the worst thing is that they have a strong group of people who support them.

Has the world gone wild? That one night after worship I asked about his health and then told him that I didn’t think it was good to insult deacons and pastors at AGM. Before I could finished he was hailing insults at me. I later found out that even people from the 3rd floor heard it. Some friends asked me a few weeks later on a trip.

They don’t understand why people follow him as well. I actually know but I still don’t get it. MS and his wife takes really good care of their followers. They are very good at manipulating people, looking at people’s weaknesses and exploiting them. They would coke abalones for their birthday. Be like their mom and dad. Buy medicine for them, cook lunch and take them to their work. Treat them to nice dinner, etc. It’s really sick. And people would just forget their principles, Jesus’ teaching, the Bible and everything else to support them. I find it really scary.

I get getting mighty tire from all these. What’s wrong with these people?

However, come to think of it, I feel like I have done enough. They need to take responsibility for themselves. 

Discovering Love

I discovered one of my loves. I like bringing people together. I could be content and just watch people playing and having a good time.

I like bringing people together and hate it when people start to discriminate, exclude and look down on others.

Why do I detest it so much? It is probably because of personal experience of being racially discriminated somewhat in Australia when I was a kid, an Asian kid in a very white dominated Australia back then. My peers then, other children weren’t hatefully racists. Most of them were good people but they were not used to seeing Asian people at the time. They were ignorant and stereotyped people like me. There were a lot of incorrect perception. I don’t blame them. Most of them were good-natured, kind and decent people, but there were a few bad kids who were mean and were racists.

Another come with me growing up in church and seeing some of my friends being treated as second class by some families at church. Some of them left the church because of this and I became really upset. There is actually a good number of my childhood friends who left church because of that and some of them I didn’t get to see for a very long time, some I never seen again and lost touch with and it just makes me very upset.

A lot of it has to do with family background, income, their parents and some other stupid things that we shouldn’t take so much attention to. Even after over a decade, these wounds still affect people. I did get to meet up with some of them and it still hurt them. They find church goers to be phonies and lost faith in church and people.

So yes, probably because of these, I get really upset and angry when people exclude others and treat others badly as second class. I get very uncomfortable and it actually tears the relationship with people who are treat others bad, even when they are not excluding me but others, I just get really uncomfortable and upset.

It’s a big contrast. I love people coming together to do good and just play yet I hate divisions and having people treated badly.

Aside

Haven’t blog quite as often mostly because of quite a lot of things have been happening. Although I have decided to leave the church, I still have some duties and some matters to settle. I had to lead Bible study the past Saturday and to my semi-surprise MS was there there along with Shirley his wife. I found it unbelievable that they are still maintaining leadership role in fellowship as mentors despite their outburst at AGM insulting clergy and deacons. 

Gee was leading worship because Na wasn’t was but sent her message and what she wanted to say to her as she read it out. Na is part of the MS camp. The intern seminary student, Jam somehow got involved in getting his son to play violin in additional to the piano and it was quite nice, but afterward, Shir spoke with Gee and asked why Jam was involved. 

I waited till most people left and spoke to MS, at least I tried to, I began with asking about his health knowing he had some troubles, then I tried to tell him about how I thought of what he did at AGM before I was met with a lot of yelling. He said I am a disrespectful stupid boy, don’t know what’s going on and have mental sickness. I couldn’t even finish my sentence. He was all angry and calling me names. Shir tried to restrain MS. I was just talking. He was yelling, hurling insults at me. Fuyi came from upstair and tried to quiet him down. He was really loud and people heard him from the first floor, we were at the ground floor. It was ridiculous. The most ridiculous thing is why do people follow this guy? Because he is very nice to people who follow him. 

I was a bit astonished but I kept my cool and went up to the 2nd floor to lead small group Bible study. 

Realization: Leaving a church

In the past weekend, I can see that there is nothing I can do. I realise that I am wasting time here and the longer time I stay here, I am just getting hurt. I feel like I am wasting time here and it is just not good for me. I think I have done as much as possible to tell people what the problem is and it’s up to them to change for the better. I can’t do it for them.

And as a pastor’s kid, I have learned something, sometimes it is better to leave on top, like Michael Jordan after his winning shot against the Utah Jazz, because it just get bad from there.

Well, maybe not on top, but when you are still in good term. It is kind of like someone who has been working in a company for a long time and enjoy a good reputation yet he would consider leaving when he sees something bad happening, maybe with a new boss or management which he can foresee that has a different strategy or way of working, so he would leave before the he gets into the storm.

There is a good reason for that. I am not leaving on best term, not the worst, but not very good.

I had advice from how many people how? At first three people, my old small group leader, my old pastor and his wife had told me to get out of there, but it is just so hard.

My old small group leader actually told me go to another church and cut off. My old pastor said it is best to leave before trouble, which is too late for me. He said that he could still keep a lot of the friendship by leaving before things got too bad. People still seek him out every now and then.

The church I am joining small group at is asking me to be a small group leader and I told the current small group leader that it might not be appropriate because I am still going to another church and not attending the Sunday service regularly here. He told me it is better to go to one church and wanted me to come here. I told the head pastor as well my situation and he is actually my leadership camp counsellor many years ago when I was in college. He said that as a brother he think it would be better for me to just go there and someone like me don’t really need to adjust.

In reality, I enjoyed going to the other church. It’s starting over really but I can grow in a better way there.

Am I growing at my old church, yea, I am but in a very unnatural and unhealthy way since I am being targeted by some of the leaders in the fellowship. I don’t see how it will change anytime soon. It had put a strain on many relationships here at church and especially at the fellowship.

I have decided that I should leave but I just don’t know when. I am giving myself maybe 3 months. I hope I start anew in the new school year.

In hindsight, I would give the advice that many had given me, it is good to serious considering leaving a church when some leaders target you. It’s just not pretty. It’s probably better to leave when you see the beginning of the tide coming so you could somewhat leave in a a good term when things haven’t gone too ugly. However, it’s hard to know. I was pretty shocked at how things turned out even though I had previous experience and kind of predicted what was going to come.

There is no easy say. There is no easy way. It’s tough both ways, to stay or go. And you really just don’t know. We can use the cliche that “God will lead” but it’s hard when you are right there. However, I do believe that God can uses other people to tell you and He did. It’s not easy, it’s sad, heart-breaking and depressing, but sometimes it might be the best way.

Spiritual Stress Test

Peter and the disciples had their faith tested when their teacher and leader, Jesus, was taken away by soldiers, tried and nailed on the cross. Many of the disciples fled from Jesus and even Peter, one who pledged to protect Jesus with violence denied Jesus three times as predicted by Jesus.

As Christians we get these tests in faith as well. They are like spiritual stress test to see how strong your faith is. When everything is well, we really don’t know how faithful we are. When things are well and smooth, we seems to be quite nice to one another but what happens in a crisis? How would you react in a crisis that put you in a stressful situation? I know that the devil knows our weaknesses and he would exploit it as much as he can to bring us down, to have us tear each other apart in the house of God.

As a pastor’s kid, I guess I am put in difficult situations quite often in the church and I see people changes during these tests and I must say, people who can stand their ground are a very small minority. Many people have fears and would give in, especially when there is a problem.

At my church recently, I know several deacons know what was wrong but have decided to keep mum on the issues and only one lone deacon spoke up. The lone deacon is part of the old guards being a second generation at the church. However, nobody listened. I would say out in a 100, only maybe less than 5 would be able to face pressure in the face and stand firm in God.

Out of all of Jesus disciples, it seems only John was there to accompany Mary to see Jesus on the cross. John was the only one who stayed faithful the whole time. Others, like Peter, despite his outward proclamation, gave in to pressure and fear. So that’s one out of 12. Another one, Judas simply betrayed Jesus outright for 30 pieces of silver. I was going to write gold but then I checked and it’s not even gold, it’s silver. It’s actually not a small sum, it’s about 120 days of wages back in the days which can be translated into $16,438 if we consider that the average American mean income is roughly about US$50,000. So that’s quite a big amount of money for an average Joe, but would you betray your teacher, leader and friend for that amount of money?

I realized that many people would betray others for lesser things. For the lonely people, friendship and inclusion would be the bait. For poor people, financial help and gifts would do the trick. For those who crave recognition and power, offering of post that allow them to be seen in public would be enough.

As Christians, we need to know our weaknesses in order to defend ourselves against plots of the devil. We have to be like an athletic, a boxer, a fighter, a soldier. We need to know our weaknesses and defend it, take that in regard and know how to prevent our enemy from exploiting our weaknesses.

And God’s plan for Christians is for us to have caring fellowship with one another, so we can be stronger in covering for one another like in a team, compensating to each others’ weakness. I think of it like a basketball team defense. For example, a fast strong player like Lebron James would take advantage of a slower, weaker perimeter defender but what can the other teammates do? The others can jump in and help double-team, the taller and stronger players can cut off the lane for Lebron to drive to the basket. Cover for one another, remind one another. One important thing in playing defense in basketball is communication. Players have to verbally tell and sometimes yell when they need help or they find someone of the opponent team getting open.

I think for Christians in theory, we should do the same. We watch out for one another as a united team. It doesn’t happen all the time, but it’s what we ought to do. By standing together, we improve our chances of overcoming spiritual stress test.