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Summary of "Lifestyle After College" by Leo and Yance
January 17, 1999
 

I. Introduction

Sebelum memakai topik ini untuk dipresentasikan di SGPA, saya memilih topik Devotional life after college, yang tidak jadi dipakai karena mengandung pengertian yang seringkali dipersempit. Arti yang dipersempit ini adalah bahwa devotion = Renungan harian + doa pribadi, yang lebih cocok disebut hubungan pribadi dengan Allah. Akan tetapi kehidupan devosi adalah lebih dari baca alkitab dan doa pribadi. Kehidupan devosi adalah attitude dari segala aspek hidup yang difokuskan dan didedikasikan kepada Tuhan kita. Kehidupan seperti inilah yang seharusnya menggambarkan judul diatas; Lifestyle after College.

II. Sunday-Monday disconnection

Seringkali kita merasa bahwa apa yang diajarkan di dalam kekristenan tidak applicable di dalam kehidupan sehari-hari, even in these college years we're in. Di dalam dunia nyata setelah masa universitas, bagaimana harusnya sikap kita menghadapi dunia kompetisi ini? Bagaimana kita mengartikan ayat "So the last will be first, and the first will be last." (Matt 20:16)? Kita digambarkan menjadi terang dunia dan duta Allah di dunia. Bagaimana caranya rekan-rekan kita identify kita sebagai orang Kristen di tempat kerja? Apakah kita menceritakan kepada rekan kantor kita khotbah di gereja hari minggu? Beginilah kira-kira William Diehl describe in in his book The Monday Connection:

"For a number of years I accepted the fact that I lived in two worlds, the Sunday world of religion, and the Monday world of secularism. I was not greatly troubled in my Monday world over my inability to relate my faith to the experiences in my life; the disturbance began to show up more and more in my Sunday world. I became increasingly uneasy about the hypocrisy of a church that preached Christian service in the world, but practiced Christian service within its own institution."
Semua pertanyaan-pertanyaan di atas deserve long answers. Irrelevance dari kehidupan kita di dalam Christianity dan kehidupan sekuler kita bisa membuat kita frustasi dan pada akhirnya, we will give up the Christian values and live as Sunday Christians. Dibalik itu semua, kita punya alternatif lain, yaitu mencari link diantara kedua dunia itu dengan pertama-tama menyadari bahwa hidup sebagai orang Kristen yang utuh dan berprofesi di dunia kerja yang sekuler adalah sesuatu yang bisa dilakukan.

III. Lifestyle reflects values

Lifestyle, atau gaya hidup, bisa didefinisikan sebagai the outcome of exercising our values in life. Dari sini kita bisa lihat bahwa lifestyle kita mengambarkan apa yang sesungguhnya kita pilih diantara begitu banyak pilihan dalam interest dan priorities. Bila kita mau hidup di dalam dua dunia itu, kita bisa mulai dengan melihat apa yang the most valuable di dalam hidup kita yang tercermin dari gaya hidup kita, baru kemudian berusaha memperbaikinya. Ada dua macam gaya hidup orang Kristen. Yang pertama adalah mempunyai banyak center, dan yang kedua mempunyai satu center.

Tuhan Yesus berkata bahwa manusia tidak bisa hidup dengan bermacam-macam center: No one can serve two masters; for a slave will either hate one and love the other, or be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and wealth. (Matt 6:19-24). Hal-hal yang menjadi our most important value will be the center of, whether we realize it or not. Bila kita mencoba untuk hidup dengan dua center, pada akhirnya kita akan menyerah kepada salah satu, which is usually something other than God.

IV. A lifestyle of ministry

To be able to implement the God-centered life as drawn above, we need to develop a lifestyle of ministry. Ministry is spending our lives on others to lead them toward Godliness. One thing that should always be remembered in our existence as in the world but not of the world is our access to a particular part of the community. That community maybe the workplace where you're in, the neighborhood, or particular people on whom you give special attention to.

V. The way it is

The following 6 cases attached from Thank God, It's Monday! by William--M E. Diehl describes some circumstances that does happen and puts us in a no-win situation. The world we live in is composed of the organizations, institutions, and powers that are previously meant to serve humans, now unconditionally demands that we follow their rules. They are part of Gods creation (Col 1:16), but, like humans, they already rebelled and fallen. For example, it is not wrong to earn money and become rich, but what do we do with those riches? The Bible talks not about the material things, but our attitude with them. They provide the structure so that we cannot live without them, and we are left with options of two conflicting values, and lots of times we need to choose the less evil.

But Jesus broke the sovereignty of these powers in his life, by living in this world, but not be controlled by it. As Paul writes: He disarmed the principalities and powers and made a public example of them, triumphing over them in Him [Christ] (Col 2:-15)

VI. Compromised Christianity?

In facing those issues, one of the way Christians live in the world with the conflicting values is by compromising. What does it mean by compromising with the world values? Is it wrong?

The word compromised is oftenly misinterpreted as sacrificing the faith that we have and surrender ourselves to the world value. The actual meaning of compromise is to settle differences by mutual concessions or grants. We do this everyday. First of all, this means that both of the party agreed to the compromise, not one wins over the other. Secondly, by compromising, each of them change their mind from their earlier position by considering that the compromised one is more beneficial than the previous one.

Another concern of having a compromise is that it is considered as contradicting our absolute values. Jesus explained this in his two account on opposing the pharisee about the sabbath day. One is about harvesting (Mark 2:23-28), the other is healing (Mark 3:4) and Jesus chose to heal, thus compromising the Sabbath law, because Sabbath is made for man, not man for the Sabbath. Paul explained this in concern of the religious absolutes: All of us posess knowledge. Knowledge puffs up, but love builds up. If anyone imagines that he knows something, he does not yet know as he ought to know. But if one loves God, one is known by Him. (I Cor 8:1-3)

Of course this doesn't mean that Christians do not need to have a strong or absolute value. In fact, we need to approach every difficult circumstances with a strong code and values, but at the same time, accepting Gods love as the non-negotiable value, we need to be prepared to put aside any values if that is the only way that God's love can be fulfilled.

There is also this concern of other people suspecting us of some kind of scandal. If I constantly hang around with criminals (this is an extreme example), it doesn't mean that I am criminal, but the danger of me becoming one is there, so is the public suspicion. In this sense, Jesus also face this kind of situation when he associates with the tax collectors and sinners.

VII. Penutup

Masih begitu banyak isu-isu yang perlu di-addressed dalam menghadapi case-case study di lampiran paper ini. Sungguh tidak mudah untuk bisa benar-benar tahu keadaan yang sebenarnya tanpa kita masuk kedalamnya. Semua prinsip-prinsip Kristen yang kita pakai untuk menghadapi isu apapun di dunia nyata nanti, bukan untuk kita hidup lebih enak, tetapi agar kita willing to suffer. As Jesus is willing to suffer to redeem our sins, we should be willing to suffer for Him to redeem our real world in the future, wherever we are.
 

References:

1. William E. Diehl, The Monday Connection (Harper San Fransisco, 1993)
2. William E. Diehl, Thank God, It's Monday! (Fortress Press, 1982)
3. Robert J. Banks, Faith Goes to Work (Alban institute, 1993)
4. Richard Lamb, Following Jesus in the Real World (InterVarsity Press, 1995)