Perhaps Christian conference names are meant to sound quirky or enigmatic. However, as a newly converted, teenage, unchurched Christian listening to my churchy classmates boast about how many they had been to, and watching them show off their snazzy wristbands and recite lists of their favourite Christian music artists, I just found them intimidatingly pretentious. I grieve for this culture and the source of discouragement it must be for other socially insecure, image-conscious teens who have newly converted from non-Christian backgrounds. I really do.
This post is primarily intended for people who are dating and engaged, for those who are single and considering marriage, and for those who are wondering whether the old Christian clichés about dating and relationships actually ring true in practice.
A lot of my friends whom I met in college have just got engaged. I swell with pride every time I see the notification pop up on Facebook and can be filled with so much joy to see something so beautiful that I shed a tear, but it’s always followed by pensiveness about my own situation. Myself, I’ve just come out of a dating relationship. It was a good relationship based on understanding and forgiveness, and I was sad to leave it, and we parted as good friends who had just realised that, for now, a forever-promise wasn’t God’s best for either of us. It was a wrench to say no to that relationship when there were things that seemed to be totally right about it. But it taught me a lot, and without revealing any identities or specific details, I want to share that here for those who might benefit from it. Call it part of the healing process. Continue reading
The more I go for job interviews, the more I realise how inadequate the whole recruitment system is. All they get is a CV, a begging letter; two, maybe three interviews, and a couple of statements from people who are being shoe-horned by generic conventions into writing nice things. Experience in marketing layout design, a flare for advert-writing and acting, a few meticulously cultivated contacts, and a certain lack of integrity, might be all it actually takes to persuade someone to give a person a job. Continue reading
The more I think about it… the more I realise that the distinction between ‘culture’ and ‘reality’ is not that easy a thing to see and grasp, unless you can view your culture in contrast with something Other, point for point and distinctive for distinctive. Of course, even then you often end up discounting the Other you’re comparing it with as ‘primitive’, ‘barbaric’, ‘bigoted’, ‘patriarchal’ or ‘undemocratic’ and disqualifying it from comparison before you’ve started. However, I’m not sure it’s impossible to be open-minded enough to try to escape that trap and closed-minded enough not to end up a muddle of multiple relativistic identities. It might be existentially dangerous, it might land you in therapy, or worse – but I’m not sure it’s impossible for certain souls to do and come out of unscathed.
O Christ, O God, sacrificed for me,
Can words capture all that you’re worth?
You made yourself nothing so I could be free,
God-man come down, sentenced from birth.
God-man come down, how fragile this life
That raw human will could destroy you?
O sacrifice lamb, you complied with the knife
That the power of the worlds reserved for you.
Statute of old for a world full of vice,
God-crimes are paid in blood sacrifice.
Their blood-debts ran rife, their hearts turned to dross,
So God gave his life for their crimes on his Cross.
O grave, silent Power that drives the earth,
O Master of woes, wails and sins!
The clamour of pomp but a flower-span’s worth,
You drove as a lamb from within.
O Almighty Power, O still small voice,
Quiet as the cosmos and deeper.
Invisible breath in the sails of choice,
O Sacrifice Lamb, be my Keeper.
Declawed and toothless, where did you come from?
You prowled around our churchyards armed with nothing but your hot, smooth tongue.
Flitting through our doctrines, we’d left the door wide open – woe is us.
Little lie, how could we find you now
After all of the lives we’ve thrown away on you?
O Christ’s Body Broken, how many thorns must be thrust in your side
just to prove you’re alive?
So many poisoned members lost, and still you’ve afflictions to fill
before your Master arrives –
Will you have blood left to shed by then
When our hands have crucified you again and again?
You took us in the day we took in you.
Starving and left homeless, little stray, we built you castles in the sky.
And now as Christ’s afflictions fill
On cheap speculation’s thrill,
Can we claim the Body still?
(This is Christ’s Body, broken for us.
Who could have thought that times would turn thus?
Church for each doctrine, church for each whim,
Pouring out His blood or pouring out Him?)
Declawed and toothless, where did you come from?
Licking your wounds ’til the Lamb takes out your tongue,
Flitting through our doctrines, we’d left the door wide open – we were wont.
Body of Christ, don’t heed or pity:
A holier blood was shed to ransom you.