6 Feb 2013 by Natasha Kim-
Listening to different points of views is definitely a way to open your mind. It will either change your thinking or possibly solidify your current beliefs, either way everyone has their own unique way of thinking and that’s what makes us somewhat different but yet the same.
This time, it was Reverend Dr. Joseph Komar’s turn to continue with his own conversation on reformation. Background wise, he serves at the English department faculty at Seminary Theology Malaysia. He also teaches pastoral studies, missiology and is also the Director for Tamil theological education by extension. Currently, he continues to shepherd Tamil Methodist Malacca.
He then began his conversation by talking about his hair, yes his hair! It was amusing and it definitely got everyone’s eyes set on him. Now Joseph has long hair, and it was tied up in a pony tail. He said, “A lot of priests from different eastern religions have long hair and that’s why I have long hair because I am part of the eastern tradition. Short hair is colonialism. I’m challenging people to see me differently.” He then continued, “Who decides what a pastor should look like? What is decided by the people becomes the norm.”
The Continuous Romanticizing instead of Togetherness
“I’m not here to talk about theology or methodology but there is a sense of romanticizing. We tend to romanticize each other.” he said. Many years ago the traditionalists romanticized the Pentecostals because they were growing and their worship was lively. The traditionalists got worried as many were leaving to join in this Church. They then got the bright idea to replicate the things that the youth and members found fascinating in order to keep them e.g. by having lively youth service. Replicating certain things for the good of the Church is not right or wrong but at the end of the day, both sides have their baggage’s as none is perfect.
“Can there ever be a meeting point where all the different Churches can come together?” he said. We need to be inclusive and not say only “I” exist. There’s no way to relate if we do not come together.
There must be initiatives. The problem when people get comfortable they don’t move. They will say “Let’s just be where we are. It suffices me.” He then continued by giving an example of how people think the lion is the king of the jungle. The lion doesn’t exist everywhere in the world and it’s definitely not the biggest as the Siberian tiger is the in fact the largest. The lion is in fact not the strongest either because in most times he said, “The tiger overcomes the lion.”
With that he said, “Will we then challenge the truth that comes to us? We need to be critical and we need minds that are prepared to push boundaries in how we relate and how we want to understand theologically or methodologically.” We need new minds!
Do not judge but embrace each other as One
Be inclusive. Each of us must create our own identity and know what makes us unique as people of God and as Malaysians. We should not be denomination centric and center on our faith so that we can move to something that is more unique to us. The act of allowing someone into your own sphere of life does not mean that you will hold of your own beliefs, culture, language or standings.
“You don’t have to throw away your identity but create fissures within your denomination that allows the other that is different from you, to be a part of you as a community. It cannot happen unless you are prepared for this new mindset that is more governed by the spirit of God.” he said.
Most of us are socially governed and not spiritually governed. If we are in Christ we should not be divided.
All of us need to be affirming and appreciative of one another, in the Body of Christ. It is not wrong for one to open your mind and head to other Churches in order to gain a broader perspective. You will in return be blessed. This does not mean that you’re leaving your own Church.
The Significance of the Sociological Dimension
Joseph said, “Every spiritual experience has a sociological dimension. Sometimes our born again experience is very conceptual as it doesn’t touch the social realm.” Very often in our mind we say to ourselves “It’s between me and God”
He then pointed to the scripture according to Mark 10. It talked about “The rich and the Kingdom of God” where a rich young ruler who followed all the commandments came to Jesus and asked “What must I do to inherit eternal life?”
Mark 10: 21-23:
21 Jesus looked at him and loved him. “One thing you lack,” he said. “Go, sell everything you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.” 22 At this the man’s face fell. He went away sad, because he had great wealth. 23 Jesus looked around and said to his disciples, “How hard it is for the rich to enter the kingdom of God!
Now if it were you, would you tell the rich man to give up his wealth or to confess his sins and receive Jesus in his heart? Joseph said, “Often a lot of our calling to people has got no sociological dimension, it is only one way “between me and God”.
Lastly, Joseph pointed out another sociological element that is clearly shown in Luke 10:25-28:
 On one occasion an expert in the law stood up to test Jesus."Teacher," he asked, "what must I do to inherit eternal life?” "What is written in the Law?" he replied. "How do you read it?"  He answered: " 'Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind'; and, 'Love your neighbor as yourself.'"  "You have answered correctly," Jesus replied. "Do this and you will live.
The point here is, we can all love God but it cannot be quantified or evaluated where else if we love our neighbour or not others can clearly see it, and that can be quantified. Remember that our Christian life must touch the social realm as well in order to truly call ourselves Christian.
Dear Viewers in Christ, if you find this article edifying to you, please share with your friends or loved ones by using the social media plugs (Share, Email to this article). The Lord will surely bless you as you bless others. May the Lord’s peace and love be with you. Amen.