7 reasons why I consider myself a Methodist (and why I am ecumenical)

So today, I was in a conference call at home for the short course I am taking on Lutheran theology organised by the Lutheran World Federation in Geneva. As the students introduced ourselves and our backgrounds, Mum overheard me describing myself as a Methodist, who is also ecumenical in outlook.

Over dinner, she asked me about it, wondering (doubting!) if I was truly a Methodist than an Anglican, which was essentially the church I was brought up in. The local church I belong to also does not necessarily fit the typical picture of a Methodist church in Malaysia. It was a really good question because it gave me the opportunity to put together my thoughts.

I proceeded to share with her why I am happy to consider myself at least Wesleyan, if not Methodist. I of course started with the fact that Wesley himself was an Anglican, so even if I did identify very much with the Anglican liturgy, I could still very well be Wesleyan. Anyway I don’t think there could be anything more Wesleyan than to have an Anglican background first. HAHA. But I am no expert on church history, so I go with what little I know.

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God’s People, An Alternative Society

List of Scripture references, bibliography and notes on bibliography available at the end.

Throughout the biblical narrative, God has acted to create or make an alternative society. This alternative society in turn is the conduit through which He performs His ever expansive plan of redemption which includes the salvation of humanity and renewal of the earth. Mind you, (and I emphasise this because the Reformation has resulted in the form of individualism prevalent in Christianity today but hardly seen before it’s time,) not to create perfect or God-fearing individuals per se, but to make a beautiful, loving, just society. This society is pictured in different ways in the Bible such as sheep, a bride, a priesthood, a nation. Basically, it is a “people”.

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The Dragon

There is a death that lurks in this life;
a dragon, quiet asleep.
Yet who knows when he shall awaken?
Smoke ascends from his nostrils:
he is made drowsy from the medicine of love;
he is enchanted by the great mist of life.
May he never awaken.

As long as there is love and life,
may he never awaken.

Getting Back to Life

(First published on my Facebook Notes on 19 July 2017)
I’m not exactly certain why I need to put this on the public sphere, but my hope in throwing this into this space already inundated with thousands of other stuff (hopefully your timeline) is of this sort – a hope at getting back to life. Life – whatever it is going to look like. Life, which for the first time in a long time, looks foggy and unconquerable.

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Are you a true worshipper?

I’m a hopeless romantic when it comes God. How would I describe my relationship with God? Or how I relate to him and how I see myself with Him?

Here’s an old and old-fashioned mushy song:

“I just want to be where You are dwelling daily in Your presence. I don’t want to worship from afar, draw me near to where You are.”

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Thankful for…

The gentle, peaceful soul who invades my days with gentleness and peace.

The rich bustle of voices who hear each other and me, a weekly table of joyful, faithful communion.

The little storm of anxiety that brews at every wind of bad news, building up in intensity when devising solutions and resting only when the problems have gone away.

My quiet and still haven, broken only by voices I wish to hear, by thoughts I count as precious, more precious than gold.

a perplexing question

A perplexing question took me off guard today in my waking hours. 

“Now that you have known and experienced God’s love (and I have, over and over again), how have you experienced loving God? How do you love God?”

It was a devotion based on John 14:21-26, on an app called Pray as you Go.

How do I love God. I rummaged through my recent life, my collection of behaviours and attitudes, almost frantically, like a treasure hunt. Which one? You must remember I just woke up not long. I searched that sack of days and events of the past week, yanked around for patterns of loving God.

Wait, to love God is to obey His commands. Have I been obeying His commands? Not the broad-based overarching principle ones (like loving neighbour too), but in the specific ways He has led me and continues to lead me. Is my life one of obedience, or performance?

Not just that. How am I experiencing loving God? Am I basking, delighting and revelling in this mutual exchange of love? Or is it a job with a to-do list. Is it a life-giving friendship, or does it resemble more of a business meeting?

Damm this question is good.