Month: May, 2013

A Mind Trap in Politics and in Faith

I have listened to the Singapore Media coverage on the Malaysian election and it tells me more about Singapore Media than it does about the Malaysian election.

Before the election, I hear this: the opposition (DAP & PAS) is strong, BN is not playing the race card this election, if the opposition wins, the Islamic Party (PAS) wants to introduce Hudud (Islamic penal code).

After the election, I hear this: BN won. Opposition is unhappy and claims there are irregularities at the polls, but not a single specific is given.

If I just listen to such information, I would be quite concerned that the opposition might win.  And after the opposition lost, it sounds like they are sore losers. Perhaps there is real danger of Hudud, perhaps there isn’t. I don’t know enough.

The Roman statesman Cicero used to ask his slaves to go to the market place to see what the satirists and comedians are saying. They have a pulse on what is happening politically. And by chance, I came across a YouTube video.  A satire on the election.

[youtube]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PjGG5sxt0WM[/youtube]

I didn’t understand everything he was saying, but what I could understand was quite amusing.  So I decided to ask Malaysians what he meant, and I got a earful!  It seems the grievances of the opposition are not frivolous after all.

Suddenly I realize I am a victim of Channel News Asia – again. How so?  They raise issues like Hudud.  The net result of listening to the discussion on the danger of Hudud being introduced into Malaysia is that some will think it is a problem if the opposition wins because it is a coalition that includes PAS which wants to introduce Hudud.  Some will think it is not a problem for the opposition to win because the introduction of Hudud would require a change in the constitution which PAS will never be able to swing.  Those who think Hudud is a real danger if the opposition wins will lean towards BN.  Those who do not think it is a problem do not necessarily lean towards the opposition.  So raising the issue of Hudud is a net loss for the opposition and a net gain for BN.

Channel News Asia does not address the issue of why Bangladeshis show up in droves with new Malaysian identifications and money in their pockets, and does not press home the issue of the finger ink that can be easily washed off.  If Channel News Asia focuses on these, again, some will form the opinion that BN is not guilty of fraud, and others will think they are guilty.  The net result of such deliberations will be a net loss for BN and a net gain for the opposition.

I don’t know enough about Malaysian politics to render an opinion about who is better or worse.  But I want you to be aware that Channel News Asia has highly biased reporting.  They do not tell lies, but by selecting the issues in a certain way, they create a prejudice in us. They support BN.

Why I am talking about this?  For one, I am interested in how information is disseminated.  I don’t have a dog in the fight in Malaysia’s General Election.  But I have an interest in how people try to condition our thinking with the information they give.

I find this to be true in the realm of faith and life.

Let’s take the example of homosexual marriage. If the subject is framed as a “tolerance” issue, it is hard to say, “I choose to be intolerant.”  But the issue is not about tolerance, it is about God’s intention for us.  The Bible is clear that homosexuality is not God’s intention, and that it is sinful in his eyes. But that is probably not the way to frame the conversation.

The agenda to promote homosexuality as no more than an alternative is clearly grievous to God.  Evangelical Christians begin to polarize at the other end, and see their task as confronting the homosexual agenda. Our response is due in part to how we frame the issue.

Homosexuality, like many other anti-God agendas, are grievous to God.  Infanticide is grievous to God. Pre-marital sex is grievous to God. Abortion is grievous to God.  Substance abuse is grievous to God.  How do we frame these other issues?  Do we not oppose these agendas by declaring the Good News that they can be delivered from these sins through Jesus Christ who loved them and died for them?

The devil is sly – like the media.  He frames the issue in such a way that he wins.  If we become tolerant of homosexuality, then this sin becomes acceptable and he wins.  If we become intolerant of homosexuality, then homosexuals become unreachable for Christ and he wins.  The only question is whether he wins big or small.

Christians need to reframe the homosexual issue.  We should not enter into a conversation that gives the devil the victory regardless of the outcome of that conversation.

I am not the expert in this conversation, but I like to suggest that Christian conversation should focus on how to be effective agents of the Holy Spirit to convict the world of sin and redemption in Jesus Christ.  Perhaps we should talk about how to reach people with a certain sexual proclivity. We need to talk about how they need Jesus like any other person.  If a person has a proclivity to substance abuse, we frame our conversation with them in terms of hope in Jesus.  If a person has a proclivity to steal, we speak of salvation in Jesus.  These people may or may not see the need for salvation – just like the homosexual. But we do not have a conversation with these people as though they are our “enemies.” We see them as victims of sin and we love them and long for their deliverance.  We should learn to extend the same love towards homosexuals.  They are not our enemies. Like us, they are sinners in need of redemption.

The public conversation about homosexuality is framed in such a way that the devil wins.  I invite better minds than myself to reframe the conversation so that Jesus wins regardless of how the conversation goes.

In your humble service,

Peter Eng

Prosperity Gospel Exposed

Invite-Only Seminar

Singapore has embraced a false teaching.  It is the Prosperity Gospel. This false teaching is difficult to spot – even for veteran Christians.

Pastor Peter Eng will be conducting a specialized seminar evaluating different Prosperity Gospel preachers through a discussion on what consitutes sound interpretation (Applied Hermeneutics). 

This seminar is limited 20 people on a rolling registration (first-come-first-serve).

Date: 24 May 2013 (Vesak Day – Friday)
Time: 1pm – 9pm
Place: Sophia Rd

Meals: Lunch is not provided.  Dinner is provided.
Cost: Free (freewill donation)

If you think you will benefit from this Seminar but have not received an invite, please write to admin@thewell.sg to register.

Little Dragon Maiden

By Peter Eng

 

 

 

“And he laid hold of the dragon, the serpent of old, who is the devil and Satan, and bound him for a thousand years.”
(Revelation 20:2)

“My husband is divorcing me and leaving our two children behind because he is going to his xiao long nü (little dragon maiden).”

My archetype of the China woman is O-Lan in the wonderful novel “The Good Earth.” She leaves the strongest impression in my mind because she typifies the steel in so many Chinese women. She lives in a social prison that undervalues women but she remains strong. She works in the field alongside her husband (Wang Lung), gives birth and returns to work with no fuss. She is a slave sold to her poor farmer husband without her choice, but she remains loyal to him. Famine comes. She is so desperate she kills her second daughter so the other children can survive.

When their fortunes turn with her significant contribution, her husband goes to the tea house and Lotus Flower, a dream-like beauty captures his imagination. O-Lan learns her husband plans to sell whatever he needs to so he can buy Lotus Flower from the brothel and bring her home. She had strength for the hardship of farming, for surviving the famine, even for killing her own daughter. But she crumbles when her husband seeks another. This woman of steel melts in tears.

O-Lan is etched in my mind. She is the unappreciated first wife. Lotus Flower is able to make Wang Lung squander on her. He is bewitched and can only see her beauty, the sex she offers, her charms, and what his success can buy him. And when he is not around, Lotus Flower sleeps with his eldest son.

Lotus Flower is that little dragon maiden. The dragon maiden of our time is more vicious. She is not content to spend the wealth, but she schemes to make-off with the wealth. She stalks her victim, seizes him, consumes him, and steals his soul.

Modern_Legand_Dragon_Maiden_by_Bianca_Murasaki

The dragon maiden is so prevalent in Singapore that you most likely know a husband who has ditched his wife and children for one. I was away from Singapore about 10 years when I returned more than a year ago. In this short time back, I have heard of and seen so many victims of the xiao long nü.

Christian men are not exempt from her charms. Many have abandoned their wife, children, and God, for the delight of a little dragon maiden who seeks to devour him. What a raw deal!

We must not suggest in any way that all women from China are dragon maidens. Many marriages with China women, even arranged ones, involve women in the character of O-Lan and not Lotus Flower. But I think we attract so many xiao long nü because our men meet their profile: gullible, wealthy, and lusting. Also, we share the same language and this allows them to work their charms.

There are so many dragon maidens here that many Singaporeans simply consider all China women to be such. Instead of this wrong generalization, we need to see the xiao long nü goes where the hunting is good. And it is good here in Singapore.

The broken families caused by the little dragon maidens have reached crisis proportions. It is so prevalent that we do not need a poll to tell us we are in trouble as a country, and we are in double trouble as Christians. No single temptation has, in such a short time, decimated Christian men more than the success of the little dragon maiden. But like the dragon of old that God cast down, and like the dragon he will bind for a thousand years, God is calling on Christians to lead the nation back to God and back to family.

“For we are not fighting against flesh-and-blood enemies, but against evil rulers and authorities of the unseen world, against mighty powers in this dark world, and against evil spirits in the heavenly places” (Ephesians 6:12, NLT).

To Men

I need to emphasize that I do not come to you as one who has all the answers, nor as one who is now impervious to the same temptations you face. Instead, I come to you as one who does not deserve God’s mercy, but God, in his forbearance, saved me from such darkness.

Men, the little dragon is casting her spell on you. Your money brings her to you. Your own lusts bring you to her. You love the feeling of power when you can buy her. This woman then works so hard to please you. You compare her sweetness to your angry wife and she draws you tighter into her embrace. Before you know it, you are snared with no escape. You just double down your bet on her and hope she is not make-belief. But you will discover “all that glitters is not gold.” She is the spawn of the dragon. Do not be a willing victim.

No way out? Repent and come to Jesus. His arm is not too short that he cannot save you from that fowler’s snare.

To women

You have reason to be hurt, to be angry, and to lash out. Some of you don’t know if you want your husband back. Some of you don’t know how to get your husband back. Some of you have already lost your husband. There is a way forward for you. It will be different for each betrayed wife, but God has not left you without direction.

To all the hurting women, I say this. God knows your pain. Jesus said, “If you try to hang on to your life, you will lose it. But if you give up your life for my sake, you will save it” (Matthew 16:25, NLT). You need to surrender your life to Jesus and let him take charge. You need to surrender your husband to Jesus, to turn his heart towards God. The solution of the world is me-centered: it is about what you can do. There are things you can do, but to limit things this way almost certainly brings failure. Your situation is so devastating that unless God intervenes, your effort is in vain.

To those not caught in this trap

The dynamics of temptations are the same. Even if your besetting sin is totally unrelated to the issue at hand, if you stay with us, you will discover the wiles of the evil one and God’s deliverance in Jesus Christ our Lord. This conversation is completely relevant to you. You may not have fallen into the snare of the little dragon maiden. You may not even have little dragon maidens where you live—by the grace of God. Perhaps like me, you have little or no knowledge of the Chinese language, which is an effective barrier from this particular temptation. But too many of us have a besetting sin – a sin that keeps us away from the true joy of living in close fellowship with God, a sin that gets the better of us. What delivers men from the snare of the little dragon maiden are the same tools that will deliver you from your besetting sin.

Spiritual transformation

Like a city that is broken into and without walls
Is a man who has no control over his spirit.
(Proverbs 25:28, NASB)

God did not design men to be like cities without walls, to be people who have no control over our sexual urges, to always give in to the ape that gibbers in the loins. God has given each man the power to come out stronger with the temptations, come out more perfect, more complete, than when he first enters the fray.

God has not designed women to be victims. In Christ, women have more freedom than ever before. But there is a greater freedom yet for you. If you let this pain draw you into God’s presence, you will enter into a time of greater blessing than you can imagine. He will crown you with beauty instead of ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, a heart filled with praise instead of heaviness (Isaiah 61:3). God knows your broken heart because his heart was broken. He knows your righteous jealousy because he is also a jealous God. He knows your anger, because the ones he loves also provoke him to anger. He knows your rejection because he was rejected. God is with you, and he longs to speak to you, if you will listen.

What if it’s all too late? What if your husband has already divorced you? Is there a message of hope for you? Yes! Especially you! Do we think that God’s heart does not break when ours break? When the husband of your youth ditches you for another, will God not respond to this injustice? We will learn more of this.

Tough questions

Let us get straight to the point and ask some very tough questions, and then turn to the word of God to enter the heart of God.

“In the OT, there is polygamy. Why don’t we allow it today? Is it the duty of the man to remain monogamous, or is it the duty of the woman to accept the man’s multiple wives?”

“Many Christians divorce for all types of reasons. Is it wrong to divorce when things are not working out with my first wife?”

“There is no more love between us anymore. You cannot force me to love my wife. Isn’t it is better for us to just accept the situation and move on?”

“If my husband expects me to work hard to keep him, he can forget it. Why should I? He doesn’t deserve me.”

“Can I divorce my husband? Should I divorce my husband?”

“Can I divorce my wife? Should I divorce my wife?”

My prayer

Lord Jesus, you suffered. You enter into our suffering and we enter into yours. Lord, deliver us from our pain, our failure, our despair. Return husband to wife and wife to husband. What you join together, let no one put asunder. Heal your children. Heal this land. Many of your children turned aside to sin. Jesus, turn us back to you. Give us a love for holiness and a hatred for sin. Make us whole again, for your own glory, make us holy. Amen.

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