What is a blind spot? Physiologically, it is part of our eye where vision is not experienced. In general terms, it means any area where vision is partly obscured; for example, in a car there is a blind spot to the side and slightly behind a driver's field of vision that cannot be seen with the rear-view mirror.
Another definition of blind spot is perhaps more relevant to us: an area or subject about which we are ignorant, prejudiced, or which we do not appreciate.
Christian faith will be an active faith, engaged in the world in a non-coercive way, offering blessing.
Many of us who have been Christians or involved in Christian ministry for a long time may have, unwittingly, developed such a blind spot. We are usually surrounded by friends who are Christians, who have a similar worldview to ours or agree with us most of the time. Evangelism and discipleship are carried out in the same way year in and year out. We organise our events and programmes, unaware of other perspectives or new developments in the area. We may even be prejudiced towards those who do things differently from us. To make it worse, we may not even be aware that we have a blind spot.
Our blind spots can be expressed through a judgmental attitude towards others. In Matthew 7:1-5, when Jesus exhorts us not to judge others, he means that we should not act as the final judge of others. We do not have the final say. God is the ultimate judge. Jesus knows that the ‘plank’, the so-called blind spots in our eyes, can block our sight and mislead us to be overly petty towards others. Hence, he first asks us to remove the ‘plank’ from our life. Only then will we see clearly and be able to help remove the ‘speck’ from others.
Recently, I read Miroslav Volf’s new book: ‘A Public Faith – how followers of Christ should serve the common good” (Brazos Press, 2011). In the book, he argues as follows:
‘Properly understood, the Christian faith is neither coercive nor idle. As a prophetic religion, Christian faith will be an active faith, engaged in the world in a non-coercive way - offering blessing to our endeavours, effective comfort in our failures, moral guidance in a complex world, and a framework of meaning for our lives and our activities.’
What Volf mentions above highlights at least one blind spot: the good news has more than often been made, in Volf’s words, mystical and private. The good news we share with others, somehow often only stresses on restoring our personal and private relationship with God.
To overcome this blind spot, one feasible option is to create spaces and platforms that will facilitate our students working with students of other beliefs to serve the common good. These spaces would thus serve as natural venues where creative and transformative Christian engagement with the world is publicly demonstrated.
Nevertheless, it is also understandable that a strong focus on such initiatives could create an unhealthy imbalance if we fail to pay attention to other critical aspects of the Christian life. Equipping students with strong biblical foundational truths, strengthening existing campus fellowships, and teaching students how to do rigorous Bible studies are still much required.
So we must continue reforming but at the same time, uphold our original calling in an uncompromising manner. We must remain focused on studying the Word deeply but also provide a Christian counter-cultural voice accompanied by deeds that transform the world. We must proclaim God’s Word with our lips but also demonstrate it in our lives.