Thursday, August 16, 2018

They will speak to you in foreign tongues

I had survived the 3-day seminar on Missional Church. For the few sessions I attended I enjoyed the most the night session on the 2nd day mostly because it was delivered in English and translated to Malay. The translator was capable but in other sessions the speakers spoke in Korean and translated by a Korean interpreter half proficient in Malay. It is difficult enough to translate Korean into Malay even for someone who has mastered both languages because theological talks are never easy with a number of theological jargon and thus the mastery of Malay expressions and idioms is simply essential to get the message across.
So for most other sessions it was barely bearable not just the speed of the translation but we felt the pain of the interpreters who tried to do their best but never actually accomplishing anything. For the first night I thought to myself “are we back into kindergarden to be subjected with this level of delivery?” And the verse that came to mind is that when people reject God and his messengers the prophets, one punishment is that God will use foreigners to speak to them. They will be treated like aliens in their own land, abused and despised by the nations. During one of the discussion groups one prominent pastor who returned from his secular work after 25 years lamented that we as a church was far behind our Korean brothers in almost everything spiritual and non spiritual. He dare asked “Why” and he answered the question himself. It was a wake up call or rebuke for if we don’t change at every level, strucurally, and institutionally, how we are to be the church or how we do church then we will not move upward or forward in the Lord’s ministry in this 21st century world. I was mighty blessed by the second night’s message - knowledge of English is critical - when the speaker repeatedly said it is not enough that we are just wonderful believers in the confines of the church but we are also the citizens of the world.

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