Sunday, August 27, 2017

thinking about australia in indonesia



I'm halfway through a trip to Indonesia as a guest of an amazing group of schools, and as I peer back at my homeland through the curtain of social media, the approach that ex-pat Christians have in Indonesia is nothing short of inspiring.

Here are three observations I'm making:

1. They know they are guests.  
As they live out a biblical worldview in a nation which does not pretend to, my friends here respect the culture they live in - warts and all.  They with-hold judgement when they observe attitudes and behaviour that does not correspond to their own set of values, and they continue to serve - trusting that the gospel has the power to shed light into the darkest of places.

2. They act on opportunities.  
The Christians I have met here seem to live on the assumption that they are most likely on borrowed time as they live out the gospel in a 'Muslim country'.  This leads to an agile and 'in-time' response to opportunities as they arise.  There is no campaigning authorities (and sometimes there's little time for long-range planning!), but there is meaningful, love-filled, faith-inspired action.  There's a slogan for a local hotel here which seems to describe the Indonesian church beautifully: "If not now, when?"

3. They instinctively move towards a 'third way'.  
They may not articulate it this way, but the Indonesian church seems to know it cannot afford to take a diametrically opposing platform to the dominant power structures.  Instead, God's people identify that there's a third way, and they pour their energy and resources into that possibility for the sake of the story of Jesus.  In the case of the friends I have met, this is accomplished through providing excellent education - and the children of the powerful people in the country are being invested in by Christian educators from around the world.

So, that's what I'm learning so far while here in Indonesia - and I long for what might be possible if the Christian Church in Australia takes a similar approach.

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