In keeping silent about evil,
in burying it so deep within us that no sign of it appears on the surface,
we are implanting it, and it will rise up a thousand fold in the future.
When we neither punish nor reproach evildoers, we are not simply protecting their trivial old age,
we are thereby ripping the foundations of justice from beneath new generations.”
– Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn
THE NEED FOR THIS STUDY
Lately in Malaysia we often hear the word ‘activist.’
Some Christians participate in BERSIH, which works to expose weaknesses in the electoral process and acts to compel the government to correct them.
Some Christians participate in groups which keep ‘police sins’ in the public eye, e.g. deaths in custody (e.g. Teoh Beng Hock, Ahmad Sarbani, Darmendran), death-by-police-shooting (e.g. Aminulrasyid), victimization of good policemen (e.g. Dato’ Ramli Yusuff).
Some Christians participate in groups which expose and challenge ‘systemic injustice,’ e.g. tolerance of PERKASA while clamping down on Namewee; propagation of falsehoods through Umno’s Utusan newspaper while clamping down on PAS’ Harakah newspaper; eviction of Sarawak natives from their ancestral lands in favour of timber and plantation companies.
Here are some questions many have asked their pastors recently:
What drives Christians, especially the young, to be activists? Are they foolishly mixing Politics into the Church, like mixing poison in water? What does the Bible, Christian history and current day Christian practice in other parts of the world have to say about this?
This study is for you if you’d like to discuss these questions with others:
Is Christian activism ‘new’? Should you participate in activism? How can you explain why you participate? How will your explanation be different from that of a non-Christian?
“It is our duty to be involved in socio-political action; that is, both in social action (caring for society’s casualties) and in political action (concern for the structures of society itself).” – John Stott
The eternal destiny of human beings will be measured by how much or how little solidarity we have displayed with the hungry, the thirsty, the naked, and the oppressed. In the end we will be judged in terms of love.” – Leonardo Boff
We will use a 46 page guide developed by Navigators from Australia, Brazil, Ethiopia, India, the Philippines, and the U.S. The guide says:
“Our suggestion is that this study be completed on a personal level to allow God to impress on you his heart and direction. You might also discuss these questions in your family. And it is very important that you discuss these issues in a believing community so that your responsibilities and application can be implemented on a political, judicial, economic, social and national level in your context.”
The study guide can be found here: http://tinyurl.com/kkwkca6
COURSE DETAILS & YOUR COMMITMENT
- First session. No commitment, just come and see if this is for you. There will be an overview of the course and a chance to interact with others who may choose to participate.
- Subsequent 5 sessions. You must read and respond to the materials before you come to each session. Each session will be 2 hours in duration, comprising presentations and facilitated discussions. The sessions will cover
- Guidelines in the Pentateuch about poverty, corruption and injustice.
- Israel’s response during the period from Joshua to Esther.
- The poet’s heartache, covering Job to Song of Solomon.
- God’s response to failures, covering Isaiah to Malachi.
- The response of Jesus and the early church.
- Final session. We will recap, commit and celebrate!
- General. Door closes at 5 pm. Dinner at 7 pm is optional.
- Session 1: Sunday 10 November 2013
- Sessions 2-6: 17 & 24 November; 1, 8 & 15 December.
- Final session: To be decided by the group
Time: 5 – 7 pm, dinner optional. Door open from 4.30 – 5.00 pm.
Venue: The Father’s House (Bangsar Lutheran Church), 23 Jalan Abdullah, Bangsar.
Ramanathan M, lay member of Bangsar Lutheran Church. Over the past decade and more, Director of Quality (Asia Pacific) for Colgate Palmolive and for Becton Dickinson. Contributor to Bible and the Ballot (Graceworks, 2012)
Maintains the blog Rest Stop Thoughts at write2rest.blogspot.com.
The Father’s House 23 Jalan Abdullah, Bangsar
Tel: +6012 288 7147