"Our Christian habit is to bewail the world's deteriorating standards with an air of rather self-righteous dismay. We criticize its violence, dishonesty, immorality, disregard for human life and materialistic greed. 'The word is going down the drain,' we say with a shrug. But whose fault is it? Who is to blame?
Let me put it like this. If the house is dark when nightfall comes, there is no sense in blaming the house; that is what happens when the sun goes down. The question to ask is, 'where is the light?' Similarly, if the meat goes bad and becomes inedible, there is no sense in blaming the meat; this is what happens when bacteria are left alone to breed. The question to ask is, 'where is the salt?'
Just so, if society deteriorates and its standards decline until it becomes like a dark night or a stinking fish, there is no sense in blaming society; that is what happens when fallen men and women and left to themselves, and human selfishness is unchecked. The question to ask is. 'where is the Church? Why are the salt and light of Jesus Christ not permeating and changing our society?'"
- John Stott
This quotation which I remember reading from 40 days two years ago or so has been in my head for about a month or two now, and I've been thinking about it especially in light of where I am in the military right now. Often I find myself greatly dissatisfied with the way things work around here. Nowadays I have sort of 'given up' in expecting things to work out well, kind of accepting that it is full of politics and mind games and desiring to just stay low profile and out of the way of everyone else. When something eventually does go wrong, I'd make a snarky remark and try to just get on with it.
I do wonder though, if this is necessarily the best attitude to have. How can the salt and light of Jesus Christ penetrate where I am if all I am doing is to shun darkness and attempt to be low key and unnoticeable? Is it right to 'give up' on this particular bit of society on the basis that 'nothing can be done'?
Innocent as doves but shrewd as serpents, what exactly would that be like in the context of where I am?
On a larger scale, the truth is whether we like it or not, we must recognise the impact that army has in the life of each and every Singaporean. Even females are affected indirectly with having people around them go through it. Army has been often called a 'rite of passage', and rightly so in that it changes people. The way military life can potentially overwhelm every bit of your life (look at people who just enlisted into BMT), it really does make a huge impact. And people don't join my choice, it is mandatory, which means like it or not people will have to go through it and experience its potential to turn people upside down.
If anything, we really ought to start recognising that the conscript army of Singapore can very well be considered a gate of cultural influence that is uniquely Singaporean. And if we recognise the army's position as a gate, then the Church had better well start considering how it can claim this gate for the glory of God, because right now of all the gates this may very well be the area which is caught deepest in the demonic realms.