Reconciliation in 3-D


the-door-of-reconciliation-by-dahon-creative-commons
The Door of Reconciliation. Photo taken by dahon, flickr.com, creative commons

Sermon for my ordination service as Commissioned Pastor in the role of Editor of the Banner, at Fellowship CRC, Nov 27, 2016.

Texts: 2 Corinthians 5:17-20; Ephesians 2:13-16; Colossians 1:19-20

In St. Patrick’s Cathedral, in Dublin, Ireland, there is a door hanging on display called the “door of reconciliation”. Legend has it that in 1492, two Irish families (the Butlers of Ormonde and the FitzGeralds of Kildare) were involved in a bitter feud over which family should hold the position of Lord Deputy. This feud became violent with bloodshed between the two families.

When the violence got out of control, the Butlers took refuge in the Chapter House of Saint Patrick’s Cathedral. The FitzGeralds followed them into the Cathedral and asked them to come out and make peace. Afraid they would be slaughtered, the Butlers refused.

As a gesture of good faith, the head of the Kildare family, Gerald FitzGerald, ordered that a hole be cut in the door. He then thrust his arm through the door and offered his hand in peace to those on the other side. Of course, that was a huge risk. Because the Butlers could have chosen to cut his arm off. But instead, they shook hands through the hole. The Butlers emerged from the Chapter House and the two families made peace.

Apparently, this is where the British phrase “to chance your arm” gets its meaning: to chance your arm means to take a risk. And that door through which the two families shook hands and made peace is that door of reconciliation on display in St. Patrick’s Cathedral, to this day.

Well, we live in 2016, not in 1492. But I think we live in a world that is in as much need of reconciliation as ever. We live in a deeply divided and polarized world. Even though we interact with different people more than ever – from rubbing shoulders with people who are different at school or at work to interacting with people from across the planet on the internet and social media – so, despite that, we are actually increasingly divided into ideological tribes. People don’t seem to know how to disagree civilly on social media. It’s either you are my friend for agreeing with me, or you are an idiot for disagreeing and I will make sure you know that you are an idiot!

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Becoming a World Changer


My fifth and final teaching video for now, Becoming a World Changer, lists out five major themes for Christians to be a Christ-centred agent of change.

I believe that Christians are called to join in God’s mission to not only “save souls,” so to speak, but also to reconcile “all things” to God, to bring about God’s shalom in the world.

Below the video is a PDF handout for group discussion.

Becoming a World Changer by Shiao Chong

To download an accompanying pdf discussion handouts suitable for a short workshop or a small group, click here: Becoming a World Changer

 

God’s Big Story and You


My fourth teaching video, God’s Big Story and You, is my attempt at giving a panoramic summary of the Bible’s grand narrative. I am trying to summarize it into a worldview story that can help us make sense of our world, and find meaning and purpose for our lives. And I am using the concept of “shalom” as the lens through which I summarize the bible’s story. May you find it helpful and encouraging.

Below the video is a PDF handout for group discussion.

God’s Big Story and You by Shiao Chong

To download an accompanying pdf discussion handouts suitable for a short workshop or a small group, click here: God’s Big Story and You

Navigating Confessionalism and Contextualism


Between Scylla and Charybdis (Heading for a Crash)
Between Scylla and Charybdis (Heading for a Crash) (Photo credit: Sheila Ryan)

Earlier this year (2012), I was part of a panel of writers asked by Christian Courier to briefly reply to this question: “What is the most important issue currently facing the Reformed tradition?” Below is my answer that was published in Christian Courier, Jan. 23, 2012 issue, p. 3 (online pdf version here). It relates nicely to my previous post on theological blind spots, to which I have a little more to add at the end of the article. First, here’s my article.

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Continue reading “Navigating Confessionalism and Contextualism”