day before yesterday, i decided that i wouldn't go home yesterday night. this was because:
- The Wife is away attending Kursus Induksi.
- without her at home, the time and expense of travelling home becomes rather un-worth-it.
so, i called up joshua chin and asked, "eh, u got anything on tomorrow night ah?"
which was how i ended up watching "After Our's", a play, at KLPac last night. it was my first time watching a play (someone told me that "Beauty and the Beast" doesn't count 'cos it's a musical, not a play).
the play was, in my non-expert opinion, very well done. i enjoyed it. there was lots of smoking, swearing, and implied extramarital sex. now, i don't condone these things, but my friends tell me that the situations in the play are more-or-less representative of real life in certain segments of Malaysian society. so is it Art imitating Life, or Life imitating Art? is a moral judgement called for if the medium is seeking to honestly portray reality, and not necessarily condone it?
those are just two of the many questions and thoughts which were bouncing around in my skull as i watched the acts unfold. there were 6 acts, each one involving a couple (straight, gay, or plain confused) who are having a conversation just after having sex.
in the aftermath of the play, we had some pretty interesting discussions. for one thing, we agreed that we had not found the play obscene. considering that the whole concept is somewhat risque, i wondered why. we concluded that:
- obscenity can be quite subjective, as different people (and cultures) are offended by different things.
- obscenity, besides being offensive, is designed to incite lustful feelings.
the play had deeper meaning and a message behind it, and was not overtly intended to arouse the audience sexually. i think that's what caused us to perceive it as not obscene.
but here there is a danger. i hadn't been warned in advance by joshua about the content of the play, and as such am only now able to practice hindsight. if it became widely known that i had gone to see this play, it might have negative repercussions on people's perceptions of me as a full-time christian worker, and also on Scripture Union's reputation. if you are one of those people, i implore you to consider the following points:
- it was an accident. i didn't know what i would be watching.
- it was my first time. if it is made clear to me that i ought not to watch such plays, then let it be the only time.
- it is necessary for us who call ourselves Christians, to understand (note: understand, not follow) the culture and thinking of the world around us. otherwise, how can we communicate God's love and truth to them?
- consider Jesus - He mixed with sinners, tax collectors, prostitutes. who are we then to say that it is wrong to enter the world of those who need Christ?
then again, it's difficult. the person who tries to do this must be able to stand firm in their principles and knowledge of the truth, and not be influenced to just follow along in the ways of the surrounding culture. at the same time, they have to be flexible and gracious enough not to appear as prudes and holier-than-thou pharisees to those of that culture. a tall order indeed... if i have stumbled you, please forgive me. leave a comment if you would, so that i can be more careful in future.
anyway, before this post gets too long-winded, i'll just end with this thought. i think that the main point behind the entire play was a statement of moral relativism (there's no absolute standard of right and wrong; what's right for me is right for me, what's right for you is right for you). it's ok to lose your virginity before marriage; it's ok to be gay or lesbian or bi or exploring; it's ok to be a prostitute, it's ok to cheat on your partner, it's all ok. as long as you're open and honest about it and not pretending to be someone you aren't.
i agree with the high value this statement places on openness and honesty. good, true relationships and friendships can't be built without it. however, i cannot agree with the assertion that it's all ok. it's not. i believe in an absolute standard of right and wrong. i believe that this absolute standard has it's origins in the character of God, and because we humans are created in His image, we have it in our hearts, too - though it might sometimes be twisted and marred to fall far from it's original design. that's why we have conscience, and we know when we've done wrong... at least the first few times we do it. yes, we often fail to meet this absolute standard in the things we do and say everyday. but that doesn't mean that something's wrong with the standard. rather, it's an indication that something's wrong with us.
Christianity offers an explanation (a pretty good one in my humble opinion) of what went wrong with us, why we're so bent that we'd rather say "there's no absolute standard" than admit "yes, i've done wrong". and Christianity also offers hope of a way we can be made whole and right again, through the God who became Man. if you are struggling today with doing something you know you shouldn't; and if you're tempted to give up, give in, and say, "everyone's doing it anyway, and it's not like i'm harming anyone"; i encourage you to turn to Him. His name is Jesus, and i need His grace and forgiveness, every day. =)
don't know what it means to turn to Jesus, or how to do so? drop me a comment. i promise i'll do my best to help.
hate what i said, think i was wrong to watch the play, disagree with my conclusions? drop me a comment. i'm open and willing to listen, learn, and discuss.
p.s. will be leaving for batu pahat on friday afternoon for School of Evangelism. do pray for us as we travel, connect with students, teach sessions, impart skills, and motivate students to evangelise. it's a spiritual work and will bear no fruit without prayer. thanks! =)