I dunno whether I’ll continue to write much here this year. I think it’s a sign that I’m living closer to my dreams if I read and write less! It’s about living the life after all, not just thinking about it.
No doubt, the mind is important. The two most important and fascinating intellectual pursuits over the past few years for me have been Theology and International Development. Interest in the former dates back at least 10 years when I truly became a Christian, while that of the latter started from around 2001.
I do have a great interest in going into the more academic arena. I love to read and do research, and I also love to teach. I love to reflect and think – and also to challenge people (especially youths) to do that.
Some people who know me well have encouraged me to further my studies and get my PhD. No doubt, that’s been a bit of a temptation, but never much. I’ve never really believed in furthering my studies. In a way, it goes against my principles. It’s too costly and time consuming and I don’t think it’s what the world needs.
I know people will say that your PhD and your certificates get you places. It gives you the credibility you need and allows your voice to be heard. No doubt that’s true. The world looks well upon such degrees. But that doesn’t mean we need to conform to what the world wants. I don’t think God gives a damn about whether you have a PhD or even whether you have a basic Bachelor degree. I don’t think God cares even 1% as much as we do about our titles, awards and certificates. These are all wordly concerns, things we easily put our trust in – to the detriment of our own faith in God.
(I’ve always believed that the greatest in the Kingdom of God aren’t those we hear about – be it that great theologian, that great pastor or that great leader. All the greatest have probably never been in the limelight. They probably don’t network as well or have as many friends as the leaders we know. The greatest are simply those who fear God – not man – the most, those who seek the praises of God first, not that of man.)
Make no mistake. I am all for thinking critically. I think Christians would practice their faith better if they were more critical (and holistic!) in their theological understanding. I think development practitioners and NGOs would better be able to help the poor if they were more critical in their understanding of development issues. Furthermore, as a Christian, Jesus also asked us to worship God with our minds. So using one’s mind is very important.
But having said that, I think we have too many people who only read, talk and write. Too many people who read too much, talk to much and write too much – and live too little. There’s just too little living of the life.
The Christian world doesn’t need more theologians, it needs more missionaries. It needs to de-emphasize the importance of academic requirements for entry into pastoral or missionary ministry. Since when in the early Church did missionaries or pastors need to go through theological training to qualify? The focus on all other matters but living needs to decrease. And I’m all for young Christians [in terms of both their spiritual or physical (age) maturity level] becoming a pastor or missionary.
I spent the last 6 months on a huge charity project, and as meaningful as that may be, it’s not something that truly satisfies me. In fact, it leaves me deeply unsatisfied – just like my life for as long as I can remember.
I don’t really care about my “career”. I am not interested in making as many friends as possible or networking widely to get places. I don’t really care about my reputation or name. People seek comfort in all these things. People take years to increase their stature in these areas. But to me, I’ve always wanted something different. None of these ultimately satisfies.
To me, the most important thing is to serve the poor and lost together with a person I can love and treasure. Even if that meant leaving blogging, leaving writing, leaving reading, leaving my family, leaving my friends, leaving the modern and developed world to start really living the life – that would still be more than satisfying.
There is no greater meaning or satisfaction than to serve the Father of my Lord Jesus Christ wholeheartedly – even if it means dying for Christ. Many in this world are lost and dying. Billions are in poverty. If only I could leave Singapore this year and serve Him wholeheartedly with someone I love. It’s not about whether one is ready. The time is always now…
That would be my new year’s wish…