Faith over Fear series: Kwen Ip
In our #Faithoverfears series, we will be creating collaborative works of art by featuring people from different walks of life about what inspires them to create and give. Our next feature is Kwen Ip, Director of Women’s Ministry at Island ECC. Her passion is empowering and equipping women to live out their full potential and finding their own place to call home.
People who live integrated lives inspire me; whose deep thinking is played out in their living and their expression in creative ways. An example is Paul Stevens, a theologian on faith and work at Regent College, Vancouver, who writes powerful words and is a carpenter who builds things with his hands! Or that couple who teaches the Theology of Food and invites people to join them for a live-in, work in harvesting and hunting for food and meditate on biblical truths about these matters – sounds like heaven to me and on my bucket list! One of my favourite quotes in this space is from Irenaeus of Lyons “For the glory of God is the human person fully alive.” Somehow that quote reminds me of the end-state of what we are supposed to be like in the new heaven and new earth at the end of days. I believe God invites us to be fully alive in and to all that he has put in us: the enemy and our sin has dulled us to God’s best plans and we strive to become something that the world tells us we should be which turns out to be disintegrated and fragmented lives.
Anyone that God brings to our vicinity is our neighbour and we are called by God to love our neighbour as ourselves. Simply sharing food and wine is a great way to reach out and connect with literal neighbours: we love to share our Gin discoveries with our neighbour as do they! We can ask the people around us (family members, friends, colleagues) regularly and intentionally how they are? What they may be struggling with? And yes, feed the poor, give the stranger a room and all that too. But we can be better neighbours in our immediate environment and in a consistent way everyday and don’t have to wait for a “project” or a “mission” to be a good neighbour.”
Losing my job at the height of my career led me to turn compassion into action. It burst my bubble that what I was pursuing even in the name of “serving God in the corporate world” was a false illusion (not that there is anything less worthy in the corporate world). But that my pursuit of success in the name of being “a good witness for the kingdom” and all the spiritual narrative we weave to justify what our hearts want, ultimately was all about me. It was my wake-up call, unveiling so much deception in my heart. It gave me compassion for those like me in the workplace, who thought they were doing fine or even great being a “good Christian” whilst all the while missing what is God’s glorious best for us. So many fruitful years lost. What a lot of kingdom potential wasted. Trying to find my own way home to live a life that is integrated and centred on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith and therefore full and free could be why my heart gravitates towards the work I do nowadays.