I recall Kong Hee once claimed to have had a conversation with God. He told the congregation that God was sorry he had to go through the grueling criminal trial. Kong Hee's spokesman later clarified that it was not God saying sorry to Kong Hee. That is, it was not an admission of guilt by God. It was just a word of comfort to him for having the courage to go through the refiner's fire - so to speak. Well, whether it is a refiner's fire or a deserving one, the recent conviction, sentence and the oral judgment say it all I guess - pending the appeal that is.
Anyhow, I too have my version of this conversation between Kong Hee and God. But it is not in the way that Kong Hee had allegedly experienced it. For me, I imagine Kong Hee being taken up to heaven by exclusive invitation. Only him and no one else. Not even Sun Ho was invited. His audience with God is a closed-door, one-to-one session.
I imagine Kong Hee finding himself marveling, even drooling as he steps into Heaven. The divine abode is beyond his imagination and needless to say, mine too. I then imagine an angel beckoning him over to the heart of heaven where God's physical presence chooses to reside.
Kong Hee will in turn gladly follow the angel like a moth to light. He is ushered into the throne room of God. This is to be Kong Hee's burning bush experience and here is how I imagine the conversation will go. Please pardon my wordy audacity to fill in the gap with my groping mind.
God: Son, how are you?
KH : (tearing) I am fine. I am okay.
God: What is okay to you?
KH : (thinking) Dear Lord, can I ask you a question?
God: Go ahead.
KH : Why am I here? Why me? Why now?
God: To talk son. To chat.
KH : Sure...sure, I am thrilled Lord. (quiet)
God: Go on...I'm listening.
KH : (pause) Ok, Lord, I really do not understand why this is happening to me? Why am I being hung out there?
God: What do you mean?
KH : (squints) Oh Lord, surely you know what I mean? It's all over the front page. I am being crucified…
KH : Alright. If you must know, I’m confused Lord. I am really torn. My heart is seldom at rest. I am not at peace.
God: Why is that?
KH : (squints) Are you playing games with me Lord? Surely you know why.
God: ...I'm listening.
KH : Very well Lord. I will let it all out. I did everything you asked me to. I started the Church from a handful to thirty thousands. I evangelized worldwide. Sun and I impacted lives, transformed them. We give to the poor and needy. We empowered the disenfranchised. Gave hope. In your name, I did all that. In your name, I launched the Crossover. What have I missed Lord? Sometimes, it feels like I am being punished for all that. Is this what they mean by you working in mysterious ways?
God: Son, what do you know about Jesus?
KH : ...Jesus? He's the reason right? He's the reason for everything. I know everything about him.
God: You know about his life, his teachings?
KH : Yes...all that. The consummation of all that is the love he has demonstrated at Calvary. I got all that. I know.
God: Have you followed in his footsteps?
KH : Have I not? Haven't I Lord?
God: Tell me how so?
KH : Lord, I gave my life for the ministry.
God: Whose ministry?
KH : (reflecting)...yours...of course…yours.
God: Go on...
KH : I gave to the poor and needy. That's what we do. That's what my pastors do. I practise charity in the Church.
God: Do you understand the poor?
KH : Yes...yes, I do.
God: How do they live? Tell me.
KH : Well, they are poor. I guess they live from hand to mouth.
KH : Yes...of course. They incur debts they can't afford to pay. They have medical bills, money issues, depression, suicidal thoughts...maybe. And all that and more I guess.
God: ...and how do you compare with them?
KH : Hmmm...what do you mean Lord?
God: How are you living your life?
KH : Lord, you're not advocating communism right? Like those days of Acts? Surely this is not like Jesus’ encounter with the rich man? I am not asked to sell everything right?
God: No, we're talking about charity as you have put it.
KH : But I do give. We give and give.
God: You give and you take too, right?
KH : (pause)...yes. We collect. It's the Arise and Build Funds.
God: In my name?
KH : (wary)...yes, no other name Lord. In your name.
God: How much son?
KH : For building funds. For evangelism. For crossover. For your kingdom. I don't really know.
God: How much is enough?
KH : (quiet)...
God: Where does all the money go then?
KH : ...into the church...of course. Into your kingdom Lord.
God: In whose hands Kong Hee?
KH : ...but...but… I am your chief steward. I safeguard the money. And it costs a lot nowadays Lord. Everything has a price.
God: And you?
KH : (taken aback)...Lord, I really don't know what you mean? Where is all this going?
God: You said everything has a price. What is the price of your living expenses?
KH : (quiet)...okay, I admit it, I do live comfortably. I travel well. Sun and I have properties. We draw high salaries...that is public knowledge. We live well...really well. But aren't all that blessings?
God: From whom?
KH : (Quiet)...
God: Do you think I am a God who blesses you and Sun over and above all that you can imagine with the money you take from those who are living under and below all that anyone can imagine?
KH : But Lord, aren't I the elected shepherd of the church? You chose me right?
God: Kong Hee, my son did not die for a world of one.
KH : But Lord, are you saying I have derailed? That the crossover is not from you?
God: What was my son persecuted for at Calvary?
KH : For the sins of the world. For salvation. For love.
God: What are you now persecuted and convicted for?
KH : (silent)...I did it for you … I did it for love too.
God: Whose love son?
KH : (anxious) How about the soul saved? The numbers gain? The church's growth? The overwhelming church support, the well-wishing, all that?
God: Is this all a number game for you? Haven't you heard, "by your fruits, you shall be known”?
KH : (silent)...
God: Thank you for your time son. We will end here for now.
KH : But Lord, I have so many questions to ask you. Please give me more time. I need to ask you about the appeal. Will I succeed?
God: I have given you what you need to think about. And you will have a lot of time to think about them.