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Copyright 1996 by Lee Bee Teik

Building A Love House
An Invitation To Think, Pray Through and Act on the Implications of Being God's Family
170 pages, 15cm x 24 cm
1996, Malaysian CARE


This is an invitation to think, pray through and act on the implications of being God's family The author Lee Bee Teik writes from a Biblical perspective and draws on her own background and experiences to reflect on several themes related to the family. Besides valuable insights into important issues, she also raises pertinen questions about various difficult issues.

This book is an attempt to encourage readers to read God's word again, to think with Him and to hear Him for themselves so that our minds will be renewed, hearts warmed and limbs strengthened.

The author's aim is to encourage growth in family relationships and prevent personal, family and social problems by reminding ourselves of God's purposes for families.

 


 

About the Author
Dr Lee Bee Teik, a graduate in Medicine from Monash University, Australia, is the Chaplain of ReconRe, a ministry founded on reconciliationn. She is married to Rev Hwa Yung, Principal of Seminari Theologi Malaysia, and they have three children. Her other books include "Deepening Joy" (SU/FES) and "Building a Love House is Hard Work" (Malaysian CARE). She is a full-time homemaker with a home-based ministry of writing and pastoral counselling.

Published by
Malaysian CARE
21 Jalan Sultan Abdul Samad
Brickfields, 50470 Kuala Lumpur
Malaysia
Printer: Sylog Print Systems Sdn Bhd

 


Chapter 11 - God's New Eternal Family - The Grand Finale

Is the extended family lifestyle really on the way out? Some who tend to follow trends may like to think so. Yet, though such a trend is inevitable as cities develop and societies grow older, the need for the contribution of our extended family members has not decreased but has increased tremendously. Women now seek to work outside the homes. Maids, babysitters and childcare centres seem to have taken the place of intimate family sharing and the caring and discipline of children by relatives.

Relative serve a vital function, I recognize, even if just as a stop gap measure as fathers and mothers bring up the next generation. Natural families need one another for healthy living and learning, even though such privileges come with added responsibilities, of course.

But I believe there is a better way that God has already prepared for us.`Did He
not foresee our needs in a technological age? Allow me to put in writing what churches often teach but seldom put into practice:

The body of Christ is the permanent extended family that God ordains for the nurture and growth of His people, whereas the natural extended family is but a temporal family structure for the nurture and growth of all human beings while on earth. For Christians these two types of extended families overlap in this world.

If indeed it is true that the kingdom of God transcends genetic inheritance, culture, gender and status, then should we not take seriously this challenge to think of one another and treat one another as God's larger family in the truest and best sense of the word? Of course, this does not mean that we exclude our natural extended families as if they were non-existent or unnecessary. In fact, the reality of God's presence and love within the church family will definitely spill over to the love and care of our natural extended families. For example, if a nuclear family with very young children has great difficulty coping with the care of their aging and dependent parents (a reality nowadays as other siblings could have emigrated), it would just be natural for God's extended family to chip in and help. This may be what Jesus means when He says, " & by this shall all man know that you are my disciples if you have love one for another & "

If it were not for a firsthand experience of the possibilities and reality of church family life that went beyond polite communication, I would not have known what I have missed. In the 80s, my family was blessed with the warmth and richness of our local church "extended family" as we struggled to juggle ministry within and outside the church and care for the family.

My family then consisted of my elderly mother who was almost totally dependent on others for her daily needs, our toddler son, my husband and me. If it were not for the acceptance by our brothers and sisters in Christ and their frequent and willing support in any way we needed, I would have succumbed to unavoidable severe depression. Koinonia (communion and oneness between individual Christians and between Christian communities because of our communion and oneness with God in Jesus Christ) took on real meaning and significance for us as never before. It is out of this experience of friendship that I share this vision of the church-extended family.

 


 

Comments by Joyce Huggett, author and counsellor.

On three occasions, my husband and I have had the privilege of speaking to Christian groups in Malaysia on the subject of marriage and the family. On each occasion, I lamented the fact that we were so Western in our thinking and upbringing that it was difficult to assess whether or not our teaching was relevant to family life in Malaysia. I therefore rejoiced when I discovered that Lee Bee Teik was contemplating writing a book on these vitally important subjects.

I first met Lee Bee Teik in Port Dickson in 1994. She was attending a retreat my husband and I were leading at the time. I found her to be a person of great integrity, a sister in Christ whose love for God was deep, real and transparent. She is also someone with a lively sense of humour, a questioning mind and a passion for God's family.

It was therefore a joy for me to read her thought-provoking manuscript. As I read, I admired her courage. Here is a Malaysian writing for Malaysians. Here is a Malaysian asking the kind of pertinent questions which may nudge many of her readers out of their comfort zone. At this stage of her nation's history, these questions need to be addressed.

I pray that, as readers think through the implications of the subjects the author addresses and find their own answers to the questions she poses, marriage and the family may be given a higher profile than before - that as adults and children become busier and more stressed, the home may become the oasis into which they retreat.

 


 

Feedback from Reader

"Compared to a book from the west. I could read this fast without realising it's length........."

"My Husband who seldom reads books stayed up to read it till the early hours of the morning!"

"I am able to relate to an Asian author's writings better......."