(Yourself? Others – and if ‘others’, who are these others? God?)
This is a long standing topic/thought that has been exposed to me since I was young: ‘does Christianity exclude certain people’? I remember being in youth group and they would ask us to think of people that we think the gospel cannot reach: most commonly people would think of the elderly, uneducated, those who have done ‘too many bad things’/hopeless, un-saveable people (unrepentant people)? I remember my church founder as well, he asked where the taxi drivers, the hawkers, the cleaners were? Why were they not coming into our church? How can mothers be carrying the bible and the helpers carrying their babies; it should be the other way around?
Does Christianity have a class divide in Singapore? Last Sunday, the speaker was sharing his experience; in the 70s, he came to know Christ and shared the gospel with 2 of his friends. He was English educated, spoke English, Mandarin and Hokkien; his first friend was Mandarin educated and spoke Mandarin and Hokkien, while the other was not educated and spoke only Hokkien. His 2 friends joined a Chinese church and eventually the uneducated Hokkien friend gave up his faith – he had to work to support his family and could not understand what was going on in the church.
Generally, I think churches are fairly homogenous. Which is not necessarily a bad thing – alternate Sunday services at the Novena chapel at conducted in Tagalog (mostly Filipino congregation), my church is made up of mostly highly educated, ‘successful’ people, but we do have many other ethnic congregations (we don’t mix/much). There are as many churches as there are ‘different congregations’: there are Hokkien churches (there’s an elderly woman in ION who always shouts ‘thank Jesus’ in Hokkien as she tries to sell people tissue), Nepalese, Korean, Indian ones, for the old, young, in-betweens, migrant populations, etc. They meet specific needs of the different groups.
But yes, I wonder about Christianity as a whole. Which people are most likely to become Christian (rich, educated people? In my university paper, I suggested that Buddhism/Taoism is a majority religion in Singapore and some people questioned this, fairly obvious (?), fact – too many people practising Christianity/atheism in university which confounds their perception?). I think knowing this is important so that we know if Christianity is becoming/is exclusive. If it is, doesn’t it contradict what it should be and therefore we should change it?
I guess this thought has become stronger because of ‘where I am currently’ (the mental space I am currently occupying):
- Since I was in primary school, I always thought it cool to get to know the ‘other side’ of Singapore (i.e. the side I am not currently on; all my opposites). But I never had the chance? Yes, I did have friends who took drugs, weren’t really intelligent, partied a lot (both in ‘upper’ and ‘lower class’ clubs), (my neighbourhood!!! Haha it’s so obvious to see ‘the other side’ in my neighbourhood – drinking, homelessness, cannot afford to pay rent/need to borrow money, etc.), but I suppose because I don’t enjoy these activities/don’t engage in them, I never really got to see how life was like in those circles.
- I was pondering about who God is (to us humans). Our attitude/perception of God shows in our prayer: do we treat God like a genie, asking Him for stuff? Like an ‘aunt agony’; complaining about life, etc. What is the point of prayer too; how did we come to pray in these certain ways that we do? (I was wondering how meaningful/is it right, to pray for our friends, ourselves. I think I generally take life as it is and accept my circumstance pretty well; I don’t blame God or whatever forces out there, and that affects the way I pray too).
- I’ve had a disinterest in studying lately. Which is something I’m afraid of. But I was thinking about this in relation to ‘who is Christianity for’: Singapore’s Christianity focuses quite a bit on studying; ‘bible STUDY’, group DISCUSSIONS. But, that’s not what Christianity should be about? Application is more important? Focusing on studying excludes those who do not like/not good at studying?