Saortua MarbunSekolah Tinggi Ilmu Ekonomi Triatma Mulya Bali IndonesiaEmail: | Review: Inner Animalities: Theology and the End of the Human, by Eric Daryl Meyer. New York, Fordham University Press, 2018., i-x, 241 pp., $115.00 (Hardcover), ISBN 9780823280155.Eric Daryl Meyer’s book, “Inner Animalities: Theology and the End of the Human” raises an ambiguous question of human animality. He aims to both reveal the flaws of anthropological exceptionalism and show that it does not have to be an integral part of Christian theology. Moreover, in his book, Meyer intends to expand the boundaries of his discussion of human animality to a broader context, namely to reflect upon people’s inability to withstand ecological degradation. In other words, Meyer is interested not only in Christian theology but also in such important issue as ecology. In this regard, he uses human animality to design a new understanding of ecological theology.Meyer’s theological explorations emerge from the idea, which is deeply grounded in Western culture, precisely the concept of human uniqueness. People believe in their specialness, which results in such a distinctive feature of Christian ideology as “a categorical distinction between human beings and all other animals(1)” and plays a vital role in the understanding of the concept of sin, among others. Meyer points out that although even the great philosopher Aristotle defined a human being as a political animal, throughout history, representatives of the Western civilization tried to distance themselves from animals as far as possible, making humans and other living beings opposing creatures. One of the consequences of such perception is not only the emergence of Christian theological anthropology, but also people’s failure to cope with modern ecological disasters, including but not limited to climate change, environmental pollution, and extinction of numerous species. Thus, there is an urgent need of reevaluation of human animality, which might give rise to a better understanding of people’s place in the world and the improvement of their relationship with God and nature alike.With such global objectives in mind, Meyer divides his book into two parts. The first part of “Inner Animalities” is a critical analysis of “Animality and Ascent” by Gregory of Nazianzus and “Reading Animality and Desire” by Gregory of Nyssa, as well as the discussion of the issue of human animality in modern theological anthropology. Meyer shows how human animality makes the theology of Gregory of Nazianzus conflicting. On the one hand, Gregory of Nazianzus fiercely disavows human animality. On the other hand, human salvation appears to be impossible without it. Meyer discusses the main elements of Gregory’s theology, namely mind, flesh, logos through the lens of humanity-animality opposition and proceeds to a discussion of his sermons, “Oration 39” and “Oration 28.”In “Homilies on the Song of Songs,” Gregory of Nyssa struggles with the same challenge. He wishes to deny human animality, yet its exclusion from a proper spiritual understanding of the text seems to deprive it of essential meaning. Therefore, in his interpretation of “The Song of Songs,” Gregory of Nyssa allows, “the desires proper to animality become indispensable to human perfection in an unacknowledged way. (55)” From this point, Meyer can move to contemporary visions of human animality.The second part of the book reconsiders the issue of human animality in the context of three essential notions, the image of God in Chapter 4, sin and redemption in Chapter 5, and eschatological transformation in Chapter 6. In conclusion, Meyer emphasizes that discussion of humanity and animality goes far beyond theological disputes. In particular, this discourse applies to a wide range of important issues, from relations between human thoughts, bodies, desires, social ties, and subjects to the boundaries of class, gender, sexuality, race, citizenship, and ethnicity(173). He invites further researches of this topic, whereas he believes in its significance and relevance.Eric Daryl Meyer’s, “Inner Animalities: Theology and the End of the Human” is interesting literary writing, mostly since it takes seeming purely theological question and turns it on its head. In other words, what begins as a critical reading of fourth-century authors, who are likely to be noteworthy for people who are keen on religious literature only, ends as a meaningful discussion of the future of the humankind in the context of a rapidly deteriorating ecology. Meyer points out to a cause-effect relationship between people’s confidence in their superiority and uniqueness and anthropogenic ecological degradation. It may be difficult to embrace and accept, especially taking into account a long-term tradition of opposing human beings and other living beings, yet it gives the readers a lot to think about and to question.From this perspective, “Inner Animalities” is written for a wide audience and it can be recommended for both theological scholars and people interested in different kinds of literature that nurture reasoning. The book might cause disagreement and even resentment with the readers who firmly believe in the idea of human exceptionalism, yet even in this case, fervent advocates of traditional theological anthropology of Christianity will find something informative and new in it. As for the rest, “Inner Animalities” definitely suggests fresh ideas and unusual approaches to common Christian visions.
Saortua MarbunSekolah Tinggi Ilmu Ekonomi Triatma MulyaDate Reviewed: January 18, 2019 | directly affects all spheres of human activity. Higher education is no exception. Teachers are encouraged to engage emerging technologies and devices in the practice of their teaching with the hope of advancing student learning. The popularity of distance learning is one example of globalization’s reach. Anyone with an Internet connection can pursue higher education. Boundaries and barriers to education are easily crossed through Internet technology. Cooperation across international higher educational boundaries fosters new cooperation among faculty and raises questions about what connotes learning in diverse cultural contexts. Supporting Multiculturalism in Open and Distance Learning Spaces by Elif Toprak and Evrim Genc Kumtepe provides a detailed overview of contemporary cultural issues and complexities in distance education. The book helps teachers, researchers, scholars, and policymakers approach global education from a variety of cultural perspectives.The book is divided into three sections. Section 1, “Cultural Issues in Management and Global Distance Education,” describes the practical experience the authors gained when working in open or distance education environments. For example, this section covers such topics as the influence of gender on educational policies, the role of quality assurance, and the relationship between cultural perspectives and efficient distance learning. Section 2, “Cultural Issues in Theory and Technology,” looks at close cooperation between education, culture, and technology, starting from the rise of the modern digital era to contemporary contexts. It emphasizes how important it is for the educators to “effectively internalize the premodern, modern, and postmodern eras” (1) or risk either losing a necessary contact with their students or misjudging their conduct and aspirations. The important role of virtual culture and culturally-sensitive instructional design principles is foregrounded in Section 3, “Cultural Issues in Instructional Design and Communication.” For example, “Culturally Sensitive Instructional Design Principles for Online Learning Environments,” explores different components of culture in the learning space, analyzes Hofstede’s Theory of Cultural Dimensions, and evaluates other cultural frameworks and their application in distance learning.Supporting Multiculturalism in Open and Distance Learning Spaces is organized to share experiences and find efficient ways to nurture multiculturalism in learning environments. The book will interest both practitioners and scholars as it contains useful information on theoretical approaches to open and distance learning spaces, analysis of relevant studies, and practical advice on how to utilize various aspects of global education. The three sections with their specific foci enable readers to quickly surf the book without having to read every chapter. Each section contains a detailed reference list of literature, which is also an essential benefit of the book.Publish VersionBook Review: Supporting Multiculturalism in Open and Distance Learning Spaces Edited by Elif Toprak and Evrim Genc Kumtepe. Hershey, PA: IGI Global, 2018. (xviii+1-381 pages, E-book. EISBN13: 9781522530770. $156,00) doi:10.4018/978-1-5225-3076-3. | | | 
Saortua MarbunSekolah Tinggi Ilmu Ekonomi Triatma MulyaDate Reviewed: December 13, 2018 | The growth of online education prompts a need for qualitative research about student learning outcomes and teaching methodologies. It also requires the production of specific educational material that is consonant with this educational medium. In addition, practical advice for online educational methods is warranted. This book is a collection of articles that address a range of concerns within online education. The authors do a good job in the critical assessment of the current possibilities that online education provides. It also invites readers to engage in complex discussions about online education in the future. Creativity and Critique in Online Learning is divided into two parts. The first part is concerned with teaching practices. In particular, it examines available online teaching instruments and places online education in a broader context. This section of the book contributes  a detailed analysis of online forums, discusses ways to make online teams work effectively, and explores how popular social networks, such as Facebook, contribute to informal learning. It also discusses what role multisensory learning has in online space, how to use all the senses in online education, as well as how to nurture creativity and critical assessment. This section is of interest to teachers and students alike because it looks at practical aspects of online education and gives useful advice on how to use them productively.The second part of the book focuses on particular online teaching challenges and how to effectively engage them. Online academic cheating, its growth, and various ways to fight this phenomenon are addressed. In addition, it provides help for how to build successful relationships, instill values, and cherish identity in the online teaching community. This section also takes a closer look at massive open online courses and their drawbacks, both explicit and implicit. One of the most interesting articles in this part is “The Move to Online Teaching: A Head of Department’s Perspective” by Diane Preston. This chapter invites readers to examine online education through the eyes of an experienced educator who is concerned about both the teaching process and institutional concerns.Overall, Creativity and Critique in Online Learning is recommended for a broad audience of educators. It contains useful information for teachers who are currently involved in online teaching, scholars, and policymakers in online education, as well as teachers practicing a traditional form of education and looking for interesting and innovative ways to make their subjects more appealing to contemporary students. One of the main pros of this book is that it does not try to present online education as a modern teaching panacea or the only choice for education in the future. On the contrary, the book presents online teaching in an unbiased manner. While it certainly praises the advantages and possibilities online education has for all participants of the teaching process, it also reveals existing flaws and addresses specific dangers of online education.
Ideologies Behind the Halal Tourism SectorSaortua Marbun Sekolah Tinggi Ilmu Ekonomi Triatma Mulya  AbstractA quick scan of the available literature on the subject of halal tourism reveals that many scholars and laypersons alike misconceive this concept. Whereas some suggest that halal tourism occurs whenever a Muslim individual travels somewhere, others retort that only pilgrimages by Muslim travelers regarded as halal tourism. More careful research of the literature shows that the truth is somewhere in between, as none of the above definitions is correct. Overall, it is this lack of clarity that has prompted an additional inquiry into the essence of halal tourism. This essay is a modest academic endeavor to ascertain what halal tourism is and what ideologies lie at its foundation. To answer these questions, the author employs the literature review research methodology, scrutinizing number sources. Ultimately, this essay has established that halal tourism not confined to religious pilgrimages alone. Indeed, halal tourism occurs whenever a Muslim individual travels for religion, business or leisure and uses only those services and facilities that conform to the teachings of Islam.Keywords: tourism, travel, halal tourism, Islamic tourism, Islamic teachings, Sharia. IntroductionJust half a century ago, travel was an undeniable synonym for adventure and exploration. In the popular imagination, any widely traveled individual associated with an aura of mysteriousness. Today, by contrast, travel and tourism have become more common and mundane, as ever more significant numbers of people flock to both domestic and foreign destinations for business and recreation or to simply quench their wanderlust. The travel industry has evolved correspondingly, learning to cater to the specific needs of different categories of tourists and travelers. Some of the most common and clearly defined subcategories of tourism that have developed in recent decades include green tourism, religious tourism, sports tourism, shopping tourism, wellness tourism, package tours and – pardon the obscenity – even sex tourism. Halal tourism, for its part, is yet another burgeoning subcategory of tourism. Despite its growing dimensions, the concept of halal tourism is often misunderstood and misrepresented in popular media.Given the problem, this essay seeks to understand the concept of halal tourism better. By extension, the piece attempts to ascertain the ideologies behind this subcategory of tourism. In other words, the essay examines the relationships between halal tourism on the one hand and religion, management, economics and politics on the other. By these findings, the article seeks to make an informed assessment if the halal tourism sector is capable of withstanding competition from conventional tourism. The overarching argument is, therefore, straightforward: Halal tourism is designed to enable pious Muslim tourists to pray towards Mecca, use gender-segregated facilities and otherwise abide by the Quranic teachings on vacation without raising eyebrows or causing other discomforts. Although evidence suggests that some Muslims are embracing a capitalist consumer culture, it is reasonable to opine that halal tourism will assume even greater dimensions in the future. MethodologyConsidering the constraints of this paper, no primary data were collected to conduct a more robust and comprehensive research project. This limitation, however, does not vitiate the significance of the present essay. Nor does it significantly diminish the contribution of the present article to the relevant academic scholarship on the subject of halal tourism. The most significant value of this article is that it scrutinizes pertinent academic literature to collect evidence. More specifically, it distills and synthesizes common threads from the reviewed scholarship. Many sources were a review for this article. Although several of the used sources are somewhat outdated, they nonetheless provide valuable insights into the topic. The majority of the sources are, however, more up-to-date. Likewise, while some articles from mass media made their way into this essay, the emphasis was on credible sources like articles from peer-reviewed scholarly journals, books published by authoritative publishing houses, articles from reliable newspapers and official reports. To locate these sources, the author of this essay scanned online databases with such keywords as “halal tourism,” “halal destination,” “Muslim friendly tourism,” etc. ResultsSimply put, halal tourism refers to a tourist sector that caters to the needs and requirements of Muslim travelers. To get a more elaborate idea of what halal tourism is, however, it is essential to cite and deconstruct more detailed definitions adduced by competent organizations and individual commentators. Specialists at the Organization of Islamic Cooperation, for example, contend that halal tourism occurs when Muslim travelers visit predominantly Muslim destinations, with religious motivations representing the main reason why they choose these specific destinations (“Strategic roadmap for the development of Islamic tourism in OIC member countries” 2017). It is crucial to acknowledge that halal tourism is a broader concept and it can occur even in those countries where Islam is not the dominant faith. In the same vein, halal tourism can happen in situations when spiritual fulfillment or pilgrimage is not the main reasons why Muslim travelers come to a particular destination. Henderson (2009) concurs with this judgment, further adding that Muslim tourists who travel abroad for recreation rather than the religion but conform to Islamic teachings at the same time are mainly participating in halal tourism. El-Gohary, Edwards, and Eid (2017), too, believe that it is counterproductive and counter intuitive to limit halal tourism only to pilgrimages dogmatically. Other researchers, including Al-Hamarneh (2008), go even further, surmising that any trip taken by a Muslim tourist is part of halal tourism by default. This approach is, however, ineffective, for it blurs the real boundaries of halal tourism. With the same luck, any trip taken by a Christian could be branding as Christian tourism. But this branding would be meaningless, failing to add any novelty to the field of tourism studies.It should be noted, in an important aside, that the well-established kosher tourism is not solely about demographics. It is more about accommodating the needs of a particular demographic group. As seen from the definitions of Henderson and El-Gohary, Edwards and Eid, halal tourism is even more concrete and specific concept. Overall, what this passage serves to show is that halal tourism requires adherence to Islamic rules of propriety by Muslim travelers for their trips to be duly considered as representing halal tourism.The discussion above already alludes to the idea that halal tourism is integral to religion. Despite the commonly regarded belief to the contrary, moreover, that religion is the mainstay of halal tourism, its lynchpin, its cornerstone. Nathalie Bourgeois (2016) addresses what some commentators – those in the west, mainly – see as the incongruence between tourism and Islam:To many non-Muslim Westerners, the expression “Islamic tourism” might seem an oxymoron, an improbable association between a strict religion and the western idea of carefree idleness in exotic locations. The Prophet himself preached Muslims to go and discover the world: “Travel through the land and observe how He began creation,” says the Quran (p. 1).For Muslim travelers, therefore, halal tourism implies the necessity to organize their trips under the beliefs and practices of Islam. For travel companies, hotels and other service providers, halal tourism suggests the need to offer only such facilities that propagate Islamic teachings. Although no codified standards of halal tourism exist, the consulted authors explain that service providers involved in this industry tend to provide separate swimming pools for males and females, serve halal food and do not serve alcohol, announce prayer timings, have Qurans readily available, and even broadcast religious content as part of entertainment (Shirazi, 2016; Raj & Griffin, 2017). Hashim, Shariff, Mahamood, and Bhari (2018) weigh in to suggest that even charter flights booked for Muslim travelers frequently geared toward Muslim standards. In doing so, these service providers are driven by either the desire to attract more Muslim travelers or by their religious consciousness. One or the other way, it is understood that religious ideologies are ubiquitous in the halal tourism sector.Halal tourism has political implications too. It could say in the very least that halal tourism promotes Islamic solidarity (Reiter, 2008; Kozak & Kozak, 2015). This subcategory of tourism could also potentially have an impact on Islamic nationalism (US Congress, 2009). Pinpointing the exact political effects of halal tourism goes beyond the purposes of this essay. It is instead more important to focus on the economic ideologies undergirding the halal tourism sector. It is imperative to make a reservation in this context that halal tourism is not merely about religion, politics, and thinking. Like any other business enterprise, it is also about income. On the face of things, it seems illogical from the standpoint of economics and fiscal integrity that travel service providers would deliberately limit their services to Muslim individuals, thereby eliminating a vast swath of non-Muslim tourists. Frequently, however, it is just a matter of perspective. If travel service providers reason that Muslim tourists are a more profitable market for them, the consulted authors agree, these service providers can make a volte-face in favor of this market at the expense of the less lucrative non-Muslim market (Demir & Toprak, 2004; Adas, 2006; Eddahar, 2016). Drawing on the example of Turkey, Elaziz and Kurt (2017) explain that the recent rise in Islamic capital experienced by this country has contributed to the burgeoning of the Islamic consumer market. Hence, the conclusion arises that the forces of capitalism are unavoidable in the tourism sector, be it conventional tourism or halal tourism. In essence, businesses involved in the halal tourism sector provide Muslim friendly services to their clients with the goal of deriving financial benefits. As far as Muslim tourists themselves are concerned, a study by Elaziz and Kurt (2017) has found that they have a proclivity to provide excuses for their going on vacation. Elaziz and Kurt (2017) elaborate on these findings to suggest that even some religious devotees have espoused capitalist consumer culture or, in other words, a vacation of tourism culture. Overall, what these tidbits imply is that halal tourism is not necessarily a purely religious phenomenon based on religious ideology. Regarding, there seem to be adequate grounds to assert that the halal travel sector holds a great promise for the future. This special-interest-tourism market is in its infancy at this juncture of history. Mattison’s (2018) article for Euronews shows that this sector is quickly catching up with the broader industry. As a more resilient middle class is emerging in many predominantly Islamic nations, ever more pious Muslims now have the wherewithal to travel (Scott, 2010; Bikramjit, 2014). Mattison (2018) reckons that halal tourism will account for some 14% of global travel expenditure by 2022. El-Gohary, Edwards, and Eid (2017) also agree with the overall idea that halal tourism faces sanguine prospects, further adding: “The growth trajectory of Muslim tourism is expected to continue as Muslim increasingly come from fast-growing economies that include BRICS countries such as China and India” (p. 107). The rise in halal tourism is due to multiple factors. First of all, halal tourism is developing under the stewardship of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation. More specifically, the organization initiates and coordinates regional efforts in policy and regulation development, marketing and promotion, destination and industry growth, capacity building and so on (Agarwal, Busby & Huang, 2017). Besides, individual states and individual companies within states make their efforts to foster halal tourism. The government of Indonesia introduced 12 Muslim friendly destinations in 2013 (Firdausi, Marantika, Firdaus & Sajidah, 2017). All this augurs well for the halal tourism sector. ConclusionRecognizing the diversity of needs and seeking to uphold this diversity by providing specific services to Muslim people, representatives of the travel sector in many parts of the world are now increasingly offering travel services that are in strict conformity with Islamic teachings. This essay has confirmed the tentative hypothesis that the halal travel industry has both religious and economic underpinnings. Businesses involved in this sector aspire both to please its Muslim clients, so that these clients would feel comfortable during their vacations, and to derive large financial dividends from the promising and rapidly growing market. Besides, it is also crucial to note in conclusion that the rapid growth of halal tourism has implications for hotels, restaurants, airlines and other businesses involved in this sector. People in charge of these businesses need to be careful to take full advantage of the recent tendencies in the travel industry, thereby facilitating continuous development of halal tourism, but avoid the potential pitfalls at the same time. Accomplishing this in practice might, however, be challenging, for allegiance to halal tourism at the expense of other subcategories of tourism has the potential to create conflicts of interest. After all, the standards of halal tourism and conventional tourism are often incompatible. It remains to see how such incompatibilities will resolve in the future. ReferencesAdas, A. (2006). The making of entrepreneurial Islam and the Islamic spirit of capitalism.Journal for Cultural Research, 10(2), 113-125.Agarwal, S., Busby, G., & Huang, R. (2017). Special interest tourism: Concepts, contextsand cases. Dublin, Ireland: CABI.Al-Hamarneh, A. (2008). Islamic tourism: A long-term strategy of tourist industries in theArab world after 9/11. Center of Research on the Arab World. Retrieved from, R. (2014). Islamic perspectives on marketing and consumer behavior: Planning,implementation, and control. New York, NY: IGI Global.Bourgeois, N. (2016, September 14). Islamic tourism: Much more than the pilgrimage toMecca. In Focus. Retrieved from, O., & Toprak, M. (2004). Anatolian tigers or Islamic capital: Prospects andchallenges. Middle Eastern Studies, 40(6), 166-188.Eddahar, N. (2016). Muslim friendly tourism branding in the global market. Organization ofIslamic Cooperation. Retrieved from, M., & Kurt, A. (2017). Religiosity, consumerism and halal tourism: A study ofseaside tourism organizations in Turkey. Tourism, 65(1), 115-128.El-Gohary, H., Edwards, D., & Eid, R. (2017). Global perspectives on religious tourism andpilgrimage. New York, NY: IGI Global.Firdausi, I., Marantika, S., Firdaus, Z., & Sajidah, R. (2017). Lombok: Halal tourism as a newIndonesia tourism strategy. 4th Conference on Humanities, Social Sciences andEducation. Retrieved from, N., Shariff, N., Mahamood, S., & Bhari, A. (2018). Proceedings of the 3rdInternational Halal Conference. Berlin, Germany: Springer.Henderson, J. (2009). Islamic tourism reviewed. Tourism Recreation Research, 32(2), 207-212.Kozak, M., & Kozak, N. (2015). Destination marketing: An international perspective.London, UK: Routledge.Mattison, T. (2018, 9 September). How are young Muslims boosting the halal tourismindustry? Euronews. Retrieved from, R., & Griffin, K. (2017). Conflicts, religion and culture in tourism. Dublin, Ireland:CABI.Reiter, Y. (2008). Jerusalem and its role in Islamic solidarity. Berlin, Germany: Springer.Scott, N. (2010). Tourism in the Muslim world. London, UK: Emerald.Shirazi, F. (2016). Brand Islam: The marketing and commodification of piety. Austin, TX:University of Texas Press. Strategic roadmap for development of Islamic tourism in OIC member countries. (2017).Organization of Islamic Cooperation. Retrieved from US Congress. (2009). Exploring the nature of Uighur nationalism. Washington, DC: USCongress.
Firman Tuhan dalam Perayaan Natal 2017 dikutip dari Kitab Kolose 3:15, "Hendaklah damai sejahtera Kristus memerintah dalam hatimu, karena untuk itulah kamu telah dipanggil menjadi satu tubuh. Dan bersyukurlah." Alkitab versi Bahasa Indonesia Sehari-hari, "Hendaklah keputusan-keputusanmu ditentukan oleh kedamaian yang diberikan oleh Kristus di dalam hatimu. Sebab Allah memanggil kalian untuk menjadi anggota satu tubuh, supaya kalian hidup dalam kedamaian dari Kristus itu. Hendaklah kalian berterima kasih."Kata Yunani 'damai sejahtera' "eirene" dari kata dasar "eiro" yang berarti "satu", utuh, tidak kurang. Kata eirene dalam bahasa Ibrani 'shalom' yang artinya "lengkap, sejahtera, damai, aman, sehat, makmur, tenang, bersahabat - hubungan manusia dengan Tuhan. oleh sebab itu maksud ayat tersebut tidak dapat dilepaskan dari ayat 3:1-4, "Karena itu, kalau kamu dibangkitkan bersama dengan Kristus, carilah perkara yang di atas, di mana Kristus ada, duduk di sebelah kanan Allah. Pikirkanlah perkara yang di atas, bukan yang di bumi. Sebab kamu telah mati dan hidupmu tersembunyi bersama dengan Kristus di dalam Allah. Apabila Kristus, yang adalah hidup kita, menyatakan diri kelak, kamupun akan menyatakan diri bersama dengan Dia dalam kemuliaan."Berdasarkan itu, dipahami bahwa damai sejahtera adalah salah satu faedah keselamatan yang diterima oleh orang-orang yang berdamai dengan Allah. Paulus dalam Filipi 4:7 menulis, "Maka sejahtera dari Allah yang tidak mungkin dapat dimengerti manusia, akan menjaga hati dan pikiranmu yang sudah bersatu dengan Kristus Yesus."(BIS) Dengan demikian, jika kita berseru kepada Allah dari hati yang tinggal di dalam Kristus dan Firman-Nya (Yohanes 15:7), maka damai sejahtera Allah akan membanjiri jiwa kita. Damai sejahtera ini adalah kesentosaan batin yang dibawa oleh Roh Kudus (Roma 8:15-16). Perasaan sejahtera itu meliputi keyakinan yang teguh bahwa Yesus dekat. Damai sejahtera itu memberi rasa yakin yang mendalam bahwa kasih Allah sedang dan terus-menerus bekerja di dalam kehidupan kita demi kebaikan.(Roma 8:28) Kata "memerintah" dalam bahasa Yunani "brabeuo" satu istilah atletik yang masa kini disebut "wasit, hakim pertandingan, juri". Pemegang otoritas "memutuskan" sesuai dengan aturan main. Hati manusia sebagai pusat kendali moral, memerlukan damai sejahtera sebagai juri pengendali. Bila hati dipimpin oleh juri yang bernama amarah, benci, dendam, maka buahnya dapat diprediksi. Sebaliknya, bila hati dipimpin oleh juri yang benar bernama damai sejahtera maka jiwa terasa utuh. Hidup terasa baik-baik saja, sebab damai sejahtera bertakhta di dalam pusat kehidupan.Oleh sebab itu, setiap orang harus menjawab pertanyaan ini secara jujur, "Siapa yang sedang memerintah di dalam hatiku?" Apakah semangat damai -- "sudah, sedang, terus menerus" atau "belum" -- memerintah dalam hatimu? Waspadalah karena hati bisa diduduki oleh 'spirit' politik identitas, eksklusivisme, fanatisme dan kaki tangannya. Hati itu juga dapat dirajai oleh 'spirit positif' berupa rasa sayang, persaudaraan, rasa hormat. Hati manusia sepanjang zaman menjadi arena pergulatan berbagai ideologi. Generasi manusia dibesarkan dengan ideologi yang disemaikan dalam dadanya. Buah perilaku tergantung pada 'raja yang memperhamba hati'. Bila damai sejahtera memimpin hati, maka perbedaan menjadi ramah keharmonisan.\citep*{marbun2018}
Yusuf patut dijadikan model dalam pengembangan sumber daya manusia masa kini. Menjadi model dalam arti dapat diteladani, ditiru. Yusuf adalah sosok yang beriman, berilmu dan berakhlak mulia. Kompetensinya dapat diandalkan dalam memberi kontribusi positif bagi kehidupan yang ada di sekitarnya. Kualitas unggul yang dimilikinya berbeda dengan saudara-saudaranya dalam berbagai aspek. Yusuf diakui bahwa ia dipenuhi Roh Tuhan, cerdas dan berperilaku seperti Yesus Kristus. Menurut Alkitab, “Tetapi TUHAN menyertai Yusuf, sehingga ia menjadi seorang yang selalu berhasil dalam pekerjaannya; maka tinggallah ia di rumah tuannya, orang Mesir itu.  Setelah dilihat oleh tuannya, bahwa Yusuf disertai TUHAN dan bahwa TUHAN membuat berhasil segala sesuatu yang dikerjakannya, maka Yusuf mendapat kasih tuannya, dan ia boleh melayani dia; kepada Yusuf diberikannya kuasa atas rumahnya dan segala miliknya  diserahkannya pada kekuasaan Yusuf. Sejak ia memberikan kuasa dalam rumahnya dan atas segala miliknya kepada Yusuf, TUHAN memberkati rumah orang Mesir itu karena Yusuf, sehingga berkat TUHAN ada atas segala miliknya, baik yang di rumah maupun yang di ladang. Segala miliknya diserahkannya pada kekuasaan Yusuf, dan dengan bantuan Yusuf ia tidak usah lagi mengatur apa-apapun selain dari makanannya sendiri. Adapun Yusuf itu manis sikapnya dan elok parasnya.” (Kejadian 39:2-6)             Perlu dijelaskan bahwa konteks ayat-ayat tersebut adalah Yusuf seorang budak belian yang bekerja di rumah Potifar, tuannya. Ia dinyatakan berhasil dan menjadi kepercayaan bagi tuannya. Yusuf menampilkan performa kerja dengan kecerdasan yang utuh berimbang, berintegritas, bertaqwa dan sanggup mengalahkan godaan. Ketika Yusuf difitnah dan dipenjarakan, Yusuf pun mampu mempertahankan kualitas personal dan kinerjanya mendapat pujian dari kepala penjara. Iman dan karakternya tidak luntur meski dia mengalami penderitaan sejak ia dijual oleh saudara-saudaranya, dipekerjakan sebagai budak hingga ia dijebloskan ke dalam tahanan. Alkitab mencatat bahwa di penjara, Yusuf menolong mengartikan mimpi rekannya. Bahkan pada saat Yusuf dipromosikan oleh Firaun menjadi pejabat di Mesir mutu karakternya tidak merosot.   Alkitab mempertegas, “Sementara itu Yusuf telah menjadi mangkubumi di negeri itu; dialah yang menjual gandum kepada seluruh rakyat negeri itu. Jadi ketika saudara-saudara Yusuf datang, kepadanyalah mereka menghadap dan sujud dengan mukanya sampai ke tanah.” (Kejadian 42:6) “Ketika Yusuf telah pulang, mereka membawa persembahan yang ada pada mereka itu kepada Yusuf di dalam rumah, lalu sujud kepadanya sampai ke tanah.”(Kejadian 43:26) “Ketika Yehuda dan saudara-saudaranya sampai ke dalam rumah Yusuf, Yusuf masih ada di situ, sujudlah mereka sampai ke tanah di depannya.”(Kejadian 44:14).  Bagian ini memberi konfirmasi bahwa mimpi Yusuf telah menjadi kenyataan. Meski pun mimpi tersebut pada awalnya tidak mendapat dukungan dari pihak keluarganya, namun kini Yusuf tidak berubah. Kepada saudara-saudaranya, Yusuf berkata: “Tetapi sekarang, janganlah bersusah hati dan janganlah menyesali diri, karena kamu menjual aku ke sini, sebab untuk memelihara kehidupanlah Allah menyuruh aku mendahului kamu.  Karena telah dua tahun ada kelaparan dalam negeri ini dan selama lima tahun lagi orang tidak akan membajak atau menuai. Maka Allah telah menyuruh aku mendahului kamu untuk menjamin kelanjutan keturunanmu di bumi ini dan untuk memelihara hidupmu, sehingga sebagian besar dari padamu tertolong.  Jadi bukanlah kamu yang menyuruh aku ke sini, tetapi Allah; Dialah yang telah menempatkan aku sebagai bapa bagi Firaun dan tuan atas seluruh istananya dan sebagai kuasa atas seluruh tanah Mesir.”(Kejadian 45:5-8)   Yusuf menambahkan pula, “Memang kamu telah mereka-rekakan yang jahat terhadap aku, tetapi Allah telah mereka-rekakannya untuk kebaikan, dengan maksud melakukan seperti yang terjadi sekarang ini, yakni memelihara hidup suatu bangsa yang besar.”(Kejadian 50:20) Keluhuran karakter Yusuf tidak luntur oleh situasi di luar dirinya – meski ia dijual oleh saudara-saudara, dijadikan budak, difitnah lalu dipenjara – hingga ia menjadi orang yang terhormat dan berkuasa – karakter Yusuf konsisten, berakhlak mulia, berilmu, beriman tangguh dan terus memberi kontribusi positif bagi kemanusiaan.(*)\citep*{marbun2017}
Menabur Benih Politik Berkeadaban Saortua Marbun\citep{Marbun2018} Sekolah Tinggi Ilmu Ekonomi Triatma |  DOI: 10.22541/au.151623662.20184822 ©2018 Saortua Marbun  "Tampaknya Bawaslu dan Satgas Anti Money Politic, anti SARA, anti hoaks - kali ini tidak main-main. Jangan sampai dirimu tertangkap tangan kawan. Jika tidak takut dilihat oleh TUHAN, setidaknya takutlah pada kamera CCTV, hidden cameras, "mata-mata", kamera media massa." Begitulah isi salah satu cuitan yang diposting di media sosial.\citep{marbun2018a} Menurut Amartya Sen (2009) di dalam \citet{rido2017} , hakikat demokrasi adalah terdorongnya fungsi pembangun dalam pembentukan nilai-nilai dan pentingnya hakikat kehidupan manusia (kesejahteraan). Akan tetapi realitanya belum demikian. \citet{wattimena2018}, menulis bahwa "politik telah tercabut" dari keutamaan, tercabut dari spiritualitas, tercabut dari ilmu pengetahuan dan tercabut dari budaya. Oleh sebab itu Negara harus menunjukkan "taringnya" - agar hajatan politik - tahun ini dan seterusnya - kembali ke jati diri politik luhur, hakikat demokrasi. Politik tercabut dari keutamaan dan filsafat yang mendasarinya, sehingga ia berubah menjadi transaksi kekuasaan yang mengorbankan kepentingan rakyat luas. Politik yang sejatinya sebuah profesi luhur untuk mewujudkan konsensus demi kebaikan bersama melalui kebijakan cerdas dan keteladanan. Keluhuran profesi ini bagai "lenyap" ditelan oleh “syahwat” kekuasaan. Politik bermetamorfosa menjadi musuh-musuh kebaikan. Sikap dan perilaku berpolitik masa kini telah memisahkan diri dari narasi kesantunan. Internalisasi nilai dan kultur demokrasi berkeadaban pada level massa - terpinggirkan. Politik sudah tercabut dari ilmu pengetahuan. Beragam kebijakan politik diproduksi tanpa dasar rasionalitas, tanpa dukungan penelitian ilmiah yang bermutu. Berulangkali publik dibuat tidak berdaya oleh kebijakan politik yang dibuat atas dasar persekongkolan dengan pemilik modal yang korup, ujungnya merugikan kepentingan publik. Beragam kebijakan yang ada justru tidak masuk akal sehat, terkadang memperburuk persoalan yang sudah ada. Politik sudah tercabut dari spiritualitas atau cara hidup yang mengedepankan aspek-aspek kemanusiaan universal di dalam segala keputusan dan perilaku. Politik masa kini telah menghimpit spiritualitas menjadi sebatas agama yang dijadikan kendaraan dan menjadi topeng untuk menutupi aroma amis dari kebusukan. Sadar atau tidak, kampanye politik yang menunggangi agama menjadi salah satu indikasi bahwa aktor dan dalang di balik layar itu korup.   Politik sudah tercabut dari budaya, ia menjadi korban dari nilai-nilai yang diimport dari nilai-nilai Barat dan Timur Tengah. Alhasil, nilai-nilai luhur budaya setempat terkikis, lenyap. Politik yang tercabut dari budaya justru menciptakan keterasingan dan melahirkan kemiskinan dan kebodohan yang semakin parah di tengah masyarakat. Demokrasi masa kini telah menciptakan "permusuhan" antar pendukung - para pihak memandang yang lain sebagai musuh politik, mereka saling berhadap-hadapan pada pemilihan kepala desa, bupati, walikota, gubernur, legislatif hingga pemilihan presiden. Ketegangan elektoral tahun 2013 yang lalu rasanya masih segar, kini 2018 publik berharap demokrasi berlangsung dalam suasana teduh. Rasanya tepat membaca kembali tulisan \citet{thohari2014}, "Pada masa lalu perebutan kekuasaan dan takhta dilakukan dengan peperangan yang sarat dengan kekerasan dan pertumpahan darah. Politik demokrasi memberikan mekanisme "perebutan takhta" secara adil, sehat, dan berkeadaban melalui pemilihan umum. Maka, sangat ironis jika pemilihan umum yang mestinya berkeadaban itu kembali diperlakukan menjadi laksana peperangan perebutan takhta yang keras, kasar, dan brutal seperti masa pramodern dulu." Oleh sebab itu, keseriusan penyelenggara bersama seluruh pemangku kepentingan tentu sangat diperlukan dalam upaya menyemai benih politik yang sehat seraya memutus akar-akar politik yang bermasalah. Masa depan, keutuhan dan kesejahteraan bangsa menjadi taruhannya - bila upaya ini gagal maka politik akan menjadi mesin penghancur yang membawa petaka kemiskinan, penderitaan, kehancuran moral. Firman Allah berkata, "Bangsa yang tidak mendapat bimbingan dari TUHAN menjadi bangsa yang penuh kekacauan. Berbahagialah orang yang taat kepada hukum TUHAN." (Amsal 29:18, BIS) \cite{sabda}.  
Menata Impresi dengan Angka Kemiskinan Saortua Marbun \cite{marbun2018}25 Januari 2018Rasul Yohanes menulis pada pasal 12 ayat 3-8. Maria, saudari Lazarus, "mengambil setengah kati minyak narwastu murni yang mahal harganya, lalu meminyaki kaki Yesus dan menyekanya dengan rambutnya; dan bau minyak semerbak di seluruh rumah itu. Tetapi Yudas Iskariot, berkata: "Mengapa minyak narwastu ini tidak dijual tiga ratus dinar dan uangnya diberikan kepada orang-orang miskin?" Hal itu dikatakannya bukan karena ia memperhatikan nasib orang-orang miskin, melainkan karena ia adalah seorang pencuri; ia sering mengambil uang yang disimpan dalam kas yang dipegangnya. Maka kata Yesus: "Biarkanlah dia melakukan hal ini mengingat hari penguburan-Ku. Karena orang-orang miskin selalu ada pada kamu, tetapi Aku tidak akan selalu ada pada kamu." "Tindakan Maria ini merupakan suatu pengorbanan besar, karena minyak narwastu murni itu sangat mahal harganya. Maria sadar bahwa kesempatan untuk mengungkapkan pengabdian kepada Yesus segera akan berakhir, karena itu dia memanfaatkan kesempatan yang tersedia. Iman dan pengabdiannya kepada Tuhan merupakan teladan tertinggi dari apa yang diinginkan Allah dari orang percaya."\cite{sabda}  Undang-Undang Dasar 1945 menyebutkan bahwa “Fakir miskin dan anak-anak terlantar dipelihara oleh negara.”\cite{subekan2014} Itu betul. Wajar pula bila ada oknum selaku "negarawan" menaruh peduli pada "angka kemiskinan". Namun demikian, perhatian tersebut dapat dimaknai "terbalik" apabila dilontarkan dalam konteks "kontestasi politik" misalnya menjelang pilkada dan pilpres. Kata kunci "miskin, petani, nelayan" kerap muncul sebagai "lipstick" atau bedak penghias paras. Mengulas angka kemiskinan dengan segudang kepentingan. Mengelola impresi sembari memanfaatkan sorotan kamera. Sadar bahwa "komentar" tersebut disaksikan banyak orang. Tidakkah hal itu mirip dengan kemunafikan Yudas Iskariot? Tentu saja, "si miskin, si fakir, si anak terlantar" - tidak berdaya menolak sekali pun "kata kunci" itu dikapitalisasi, dipolitisir. Oknum memperkuat argumennya dengan data kemiskinan yang dirilis Badan Pusat Statistik. Katanya Maret 2017 penduduk miskin ada 27,77 juta jiwa, sekitar 17,10 juta jiwa di antaranya berada di desa. \cite{bps2017} Data itu, lalu dibandingkan dengan angka periode sebelumnya, katanya semakin parah. Ujung-ujungnya pemerintah "katanya" belum berhasil. Timpang di sana-sini, "katanya". Sekilas memberi kesan menarik dan meyakinkan. Namun, bila dicermati secara kritis "impresi" itu mirip dengan kemunafikan Yudas Iskariot. Ucapan dan niatnya tidak selaras. Wacana kepedulian terhadap si miskin ibarat peribahasa yang berkata, "telunjuk lurus, kelingking berkait." Tampaknya baik, tetapi hatinya diragukan. Di pihak lain, ada "oknum" yang secara sukarela, melaksanakan pengobatan gratis, memberi bantuan secara swadaya. Mereka tidak melibatkan media, tidak bersuara, tentu saja informasinya tidak meluas diketahui publik. Kontras dengan oknum yang lihai melipat kelingking seraya meluruskan telunjuk - menuding dengan "maksud" yang dapat dipahami pemirsa. Perempuan bernama Maria meminyaki kaki Kristus di Kota Betania. Sebuah kota di mana Lazarus pernah dibangkitkan oleh Yesus dari kematian. Mujizat yang terjadi di sana membuat tempat itu menjadi masyhur. Ketika Yesus tiba di Betania, diadakan perjamuan sebagai sambutan untuk Dia. Maria pun menunjukkan rasa hormat dan rasa syukur karena kematian dan kebangkitan kakak lelakinya, Lazarus. Minyak setengah kati (setengah liter) seharga 300 Dinar dipersembahkan kepada Yesus, sebagai persembahan yang terbaik. Persembahan yang termahal, karena harganya setara dengan upah seorang pekerja selama 300 hari. Yesus Kristus tidak keberatan atas perbuatan Maria. Akan tetapi, Yudas Iskariot tampaknya gagal memahami makna tertinggi dari perbuatan Maria. Yudas melontarkan kritik seraya berkata, "Mengapa minyak narwastu ini tidak dijual tiga ratus dinar dan uangnya diberikan kepada orang-orang miskin?" Bagi Yudas, perbuatan Maria itu adalah suatu "pemborosan" - dan ia tidak bisa mengerti, "Mengapa Yesus membiarkan hal itu?" "Apakah Yesus tidak lagi memperhatikan orang-orang miskin?" Menurut Matthew Henry, "Yudas, seorang dari murid-murid Yesus bersungut-sungut atas tindakan Maria. Memang tidak aneh bila orang-orang yang paling jahat menyamar di balik pengakuan iman mereka yang terbaik. Banyak orang berpura-pura mengaku mengenal Kristus, padahal mereka sama sekali tidak mengasihi-Nya. Yudas adalah seorang rasul, seorang pengkhotbah Injil, tetapi ia malah berkeberatan dan mencela perbuatan yang menunjukkan kasih sayang dan pengabdian yang tulus seperti yang dilakukan Maria tadi. Perhatikan, menyedihkan sekali jika kehidupan agama dan semangat yang kudus malah dicerca dan ditolak oleh orang-orang yang justru seharusnya mendorong dan menyokong semuanya itu."\cite{sabdaa}"kasih yang telah mendingin terhadap Kristus dan kebencian tersembunyi terhadap kesalehan yang tulus, bila muncul dalam diri penganut agama, maka ini menjadi pertanda buruk akan terjadinya kemurtadan. Orang-orang munafik yang biasanya tidak mudah tergelincir karena godaan-godaan duniawi, justru lebih mudah jatuh oleh karena godaan-godaan yang lebih besar daripada itu." "rasa amal terhadap orang miskin dijadikan alasan untuk menentang kesalehan yang ditujukan kepada Kristus dan dijadikan kedok untuk menyembunyikan ketamakan." "Keberatan Yudas itu tidak didasari oleh kepeduliannya untuk beramal: Bukan karena ia memperhatikan nasib orang-orang miskin. Dia tidak memiliki belas kasihan terhadap mereka, sama sekali tidak peduli kepada mereka: baginya, orang-orang miskin hanyalah sekedar alat untuk mendapatkan keinginannya, dengan cara berpura-pura memperhatikan mereka." "Keberatan Yudas itu justru muncul karena ketamakannya. Kenyataannya adalah, dia lebih menginginkan minyak narwastu yang dipersembahkan untuk Guru-nya itu supaya dijual saja, lalu uangnya dapat dimasukkan ke dalam kas yang ia pegang, dan setelah itu ia tahu apa yang akan dilakukannya."\cite{sabdaa} Maria tidak berhenti, karena ia melakukannya sebagai tanda kasih. Perbuatan Yesus Kristus yang telah membangkitkan Lazarus tidak dapat dapat dibalas dengan apa pun. Sebagai umat yang beriman, tentu kita pun patut berterima kasih atas kasih dan pengorbanan Kristus bagi kita. Kiranya kita menjadi peniru teladan ketulusan hati Maria. Semoga pula, impresi ala Yudas Iskariot dijauhkan dari anda dan saya.(*)
BOOK REVIEWStrangers and Friends at the Welcome Table: Contemporary Christianities in the American South, By  James Hudnut-Beumler, Chapel Hill, NC., University of North Carolina Press., 2018., ISBN. 978-1-4696-4037-2., i-x., 1-289 pp., Hardcover $27.47.   Hudnut-Beumler presents this fascinating chronicle of Christianity for more than the past 75 years, as an overall image of the dominant religion in some of the Southern states of America. The author narrates experiences, believes and faithful practices of Christians in both rural and urban communities. The book is thus a critical analysis of different religious communities, especially their intrinsic difficulties in smoothing down differences connecting to religion, myths, and peculiarity of culture among Christians. This book, therefore, presents the author’s notion that to understand Christianity in the twenty-first century; one has to engage diverse perceptions of Christian practices.The writer narrated his life experiences since childhood when the family traveled from Michigan, to visit relatives in South Webster, Ohio. The author recounts the differences in accent practices, for instance, the high number of small churches along a small main street. The author also recalls unique religious and cultural traditions such as attending church services on Sunday and Wednesday nights, when different church bells rang at different times. Writer, therefore, creates a distinctive impression of the American South, as a place retaining a broad historical sense, concerning differences in race, kinship, faith, myths, and geographical settings. The author tries to find out the intensity of this cultural distinctiveness, and its homogeneity with the contemporary American culture, since the observable differences might be either functionless or essential in the current evolving society.According to the writer, there is extreme segregation of faith among Christians in the South, whom he refers to as a “religion of the lost cause” that glamorize the civil war. The writer narrates how the white, Protestants and other conservative Christian communities still dominate the South. This narration on religion is fascinating due to the included range of stories concerning practices by different Christian groups, for instance, the rattlesnakes and holiness. The author also narrates how the Catholic Church tries to reconnect with communities by cleaning up the aftermath of calamities, for example, the 2015 mass shooting at Charleston's Emanuel A.M.E. Church, where the faithful try to enhance reconciliation by teaching Christian values of morality and forgiveness. The author also presents the church clean-up exercise, after hurricane Katrina, and Mississippi floods. The author depicts the rapid emergence of other megachurches, different parenting behaviors, where there appear to be more home-schooling systems for children on a matter that are common in contemporary society such as theories concern with the creation and gay Christians. Writer, therefore, presents the rapid social diversity and unpredictable changes such as revolution from the Spanish language used in church services to a more robust Christian home-schooling system that seems to rival the public education system.The writer also presents a different picture form the customarily perceived notion indicating that all southern Christians are Christian whites and are conservative especially on political matters since the analysis involves the ideologies, practices, and outlook among current Southern Christians. According to Writer, Christianity is America’s dominant faith. However, a predominant difference grapples the South, regarding practices meant to provide meaning, purpose, and identity. The region has many megachurches than other American areas, for instance, this south region has five times the number of churches in the Northeastern region. All these churches are fully utilized and house multi-denominational practitioners who are highly involved with their congregations.Different churches exist within the same setting, for instance, “the church of God, Church of Christ, Southern Baptist Convention, the church of God in Christ and National Baptist Convention” all consist of over forty percent of the Southern population, who are highly involved members. Other than the Baptist churches, others include the Methodist, Pentecostal, Presbyterian, Holiness, Episcopal and other non-denominational churches common along back streets and roads heading out of town. Contrary, in America, only 16% Catholics and 19% evangelical Lutherans reach such a high level of involvement in Christianity. The writer indicates that religion is not a private practice but a more public practice, noticeable through the manifestation of the number of praying families or individuals in public places such as restaurants and the large billboards along highways publicizing all sort of religious practices. Some of America's Southern cosmopolitan cities with the most significant percentage of practicing Christians include Dallas 78%, Atlanta 76%, Boston 57%, Seattle 52%, and San Francisco at 48%. This statistics, therefore, depicts that the South seems more religious and portrays a stronger Christian base.Conversely, Writer presents a different perspective depicting lack of commonness of Christian practices in the south. The author shows the diversity of views, levels of dissent, procedures concern with practicing faith, loving others, interpreting sin, and fellowshipping. These Christians may, therefore, join in the hymn of "I want to eat at the welcome table" but when these "Strangers and Friends" join at the "Welcome Table," there is either friendship or unfamiliarity among them depending on lifestyle, practices, and beliefs. Christians in the South maintain a firm worship grip of ancestors and institutions of the past. Human imaginations still intimately connect to military services and sacrifices during the civil war that ended over 150 years ago. Christians in the contemporary South therefore always link current situations and meaning of conflicts to effects of past occurrences such as the legacy of slavery and consider such phenomena honorable.The author dramatically captures religion in the southern political arena, where legislatures, leaderboards and a large number of citizens consider the south as predominantly religious. However, the writer shows the different Christian practices in the contemporary South, the origin, and contradictions within the cultural and religious setting. Although the modern South remains highly religious, distinct and dominated by Christians, there is a steady change of status, to the diversification of meaning and interpretation of the expression "Christianity."