Sunday, July 24, 2005

Christian Soldiers, we are!



Onward, Christian soldiers, marching as to war,
with the cross of Jesus going on before.
Christ, the royal Master, leads against the foe;
forward into battle see his banners go!

Like a mighty army moves the church of God;
brothers, we are treading where the saints have trod.
We are not divided, all one body we,
one in hope and doctrine, one in charity.

Onward, Christian soldiers, marching as to war,
with the cross of Jesus going on before.

-composed by Reverend Sabine Baring-Gould in 1865 for a Sunday School festival in connection with his church at Horbury Bridge, Yorkshire. Regarding his composition: "I wanted the children to sing when marching from one village to another, but coudn't think of anything quite suitable; so I sat up all night, resolved that I should write something myself. It was written with great haste and I am afraid some of the rhymes are faulty. Certainly nothing has surprised me more than its popularity". - The Romance of Sacred Song, David J. Beattie; a book on how some of the most famous hymns were written.

May the members of Persaudaraan Kristian Varsiti Universiti Malaya move with gusto, led by the Holy Spirit; of going to war; putting on the whole armour of God- waist of truth, breastplate of righteousness, gospel of peace, shield of faith, helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit; which is the Word of God (Ephesians 6:13-17)- having secured the ultimate victory, by our Captain and Captor; Jesus Christ.



Sunday, July 17, 2005

Settle it.

One may argue that it is almost impossible to uphold total integrity. In the Gospels, it was written that a woman who was caught in the act of adultery was brought before Jesus by the scribes and the Pharisees; demanding that she who had broken the law of Moses be punished by stoning. Jesus said to them, “Let him who is without sin among you be the first to throw a stone at her”. Having heard that, one by one; they went away.

In a typical modern setting, we still find ourselves numbed and dumbstruck by the fact that none of us could “cast the first stone”, so to speak. In the context of holding integrity and fighting corruption, we have fell short of doing our part in engaging ourselves in a full combat against corruption; regardless of whether we were the parties of corruption or someone whom we knew were.

“There are no bad children, only bad parents”, someone once said. Which is why our first exposure of corruption would probably have been given to us by our parents- who bribed the traffic policemen to get away from having to pay a relatively exorbitant summon, or bribed the school principal to buy their children a spot in a famed school or a position in a club or co-curricular society. Soon, we would begin to act indifferently towards the act of bribery, even be more than willing to pay the extra to avoid the risk of not gaining our driving licenses in our first attempt of our driving tests.

As though to justify our lowly acts, we claimed to be put into forced circumstances that made us commit those acts, pleading on the grounds of having the best intentions for ourselves and the people around us. Suddenly, bribing the land officers in order to get a permit to build a church is fine and we even have the nerve and sense to use a bible verse to back it up- (1 John 3:18 ESV) "Little children, let us not love in word or talk but in deed and in truth". (As though its meaning can be conveniently taken out of context or, just as worse; taken to be partially true.

Criticism aside, we ought to turn our attention on how corruption and living in a relative standard of integrity can bring down Society’s morality to its knees. Living in a pluralistic community only hit us harder on our heads that we must not detach ourselves from the rest in the name of “holiness”, thus allowing ourselves to turn a blind eye and deaf ear to our responsibilities in upholding integrity and fighting against corruption in this community. Likewise, in a more exclusive community as that of a university’s, we are called to bear the same responsibilities, and these calls must, nonetheless be even louder, if not just as loud.

Realizing the call to making a difference, a few students of University of Malaya have produced an outline, hitting directly onto the issues of rampant acts of corruption among the key administrative figures in the university and the students-

Issues: 1. Unchallenged authority of the administrative staff, leading to misappropriation of resources in upgrading facilities in the campus.
2: Students’ struggles to conform to the authorities’ demand in appointing members of a political group of their choice, as student representatives; and to conspiracies drawn by the same parties through acts of bribery and threats.
3: Lack of influence by the elite group to the masses through restrictive outflow of information to the media regarding the level of integrity of the authorities.
4: Fear instilled into students to prevent them from raising issues that are deemed ‘sensitive’, especially issues that centre racial prominence.

Priority steps to address the issues
1: Place educationists who act for the common interests of the campus community in key roles of higher learning institutions.
2: Mobilizing individuals in every area and creating public outcries through constant discussion of thoughts among students and the citizens, thus consistently giving healthy pressure to the authorities to act with integrity.
3: Voicing relevant issues regardless of whether it concerns only a specific race or the Nation, cultivating the mindset of bearing the responsibility on the part of the Nation as a whole.

(The 1st Congress on Integrity held in Sunway Convention Centre 16 July 2005 has provided them a meaningful opportunity to address the importance of integrity in campus, of which inspired them to produce this outline)

The few of the university students have spoken. It is in the hope of these students that more would come forward to make this change.

What difference is there between committing an act of corruption and witnessing an act of corruption and keeping silent over it?

We have much to think about.

Sunday, July 10, 2005

Engaging.

"The first and greatest object that should most materially engage the attention of mankind is, the pursuit of that knowledge which tends to promote their welfare while on transitory stage of life, and their eternal happiness to come. No measures whatever can be taken to effect this but the most earnest endeavours to make themselves perfectly acquainted with, and strictly follow the example of, our blessed Redeemer, the great Captain of our salvation- the Preserver of our souls from death to life everlasting- the grand pattern of sanctity, humility, meekness, and charity- the King of Glory- the guiding Star to righteousness- and who, as himself expresses it, ' is the way, the truth, and the life.'
As therefore, in our blessed Redeemer only rests the whole of our eternal salvation, let Him only engross our most serious attention; and let the examples of his holy apostles, who have sealed their faith with their blood, inspire us with resolution to make us emulous to be accounted voluntary servants of Christ, who condescended to suffer an ignominious and painful death, to clear us from our sins, and the punishment due to our manifold offences.
In seriously perusing the life and transactions of the great Redeemer of mankind, we shall there find those balmy sweets, those solid comforts, which, if properly attended to, will promote our felicity here, and secure to us eternal happiness hereafter. If we endevour to pursue the divine system laid down by our blessed Saviour, there is no reason to doubt but our obedience will be crowned with that reward which he hath been pleased to promise to all those who imitaite his glorious example.
Our blessed Lord himself tells us, that if we are poor in spirit, we shall gain the kingdom of heaven- if we mourn here, we shall be comforted-if we hunger and thirst after righteousness, we shall be filled. It is from these assurances that St Augustine says, "that the happiness of this life consists in the holy gospel, without which we cannot come to the knowledge of God." All true knowledge, virtue, and perfection, that a christian can desire or attain to, are contained in the doctrines and transactions of our glorious Redeemer, who teaches us, that righteousness and holiness consist in the inward purity and integrity of the mind, not in the outward show of works-in a conscience void of offence, not in the pompous applause of men-in humility, not in ostentation- in contempt, not in pursuit of worldly honours-and he farther teaches us to love our enemies as well as our friends.
Here we read of the nature of true faith; of trusting in Christ alone; and how we ought not to glory, but in him. Here we read also of the certainty of salvation, the forgiveness of sins, the ressurection of the body, and of life eternal.
We most sincerely hope that the perusal of this work will produce that effect for which it is happily adapted, namely, the promotion of the cause of Christianity, and making mankind wise unto salvation. A serious attention to the divine transactions contained in this history, will fill the mind with awful, though pleasing ideas; banish every doubt; confirm the reader in the most sublime truths, and fill his soul with divine ecstacies.
We shall only farther observe, that in the execution of this pious work, we have endevoured to improve the understanding and warm the heart:to inspire the mind with gratitude for the astonishing love of a dying Saviour: and to excite the soul to embrace his kind invitations of forgiveness, of happiness, and of peace."

- copied with utmost happiness, excitement and joy from the preface of a book entitled "The Life of Our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ; with the lives of the apostles, evangelists and fathers". Authors unknown- but have a peculiar assurance that they must be in Heaven currently; engaging in wonderful, if not more; heavenly writing duties.