A Look Into the Babel Issue

Babel Blog_0000_IMG_6513

Take an inside look at the Babel Issue with our founder Natalie as she explores the stories of success and failures, hopes of new dreams and dreams forgotten, and the issues in life and the world beyond. She shares her favourites from the issue and the story behind the name.

We were all seated around the table deep in discussion when one of our former ALESCE team members, Sarah, casually mentioned how the story of Babel is so relevant in today’s times and world. The story of Babel in the Bible (in Genesis 11), in some way, encapsulates a daily struggle to reach the top by our own human means. We strive to make ourselves big and we often will do whatever we can to get success – even if it means dethroning God in the process. 

When we decided to make Babel the theme of our second issue, our minds went wild with possibilities of where this theme could bring us: the story of Babel in the Bible, the amalgamation of people and cultures, the fight for success and the failures that came along with it, and the beginning or forgetting of dreams.

The Babel issue is a response to the strife we see everyday around us (or perhaps, within us). It is a reminder that we cannot do anything on our own. It is a warning that as big or important we think we are or our dreams are, everything is rendered insignificant apart from God.

I personally hold these stories in this issue very close to my heart. As someone who is also learning what it means to surrender and let go of the notion of success society often feeds us with, this doesn’t come easy.

The Babel Issue may not immediately help you to forgo the journey towards success you are already embarking on, but I pray that as you explore these pages of raw and unfiltered thoughts and musings, that you will be reminded that you are not alone on this journey. We are all in this together.

IN THE HEART | The Numbers Game

Beyond the beautiful visuals of this short creative piece, I wanted to share my personal reflections on the striving and legalism that so easily seep into the Christian faith and church. Growing up in a Christian family and with a strong community around me, it’s easy to know in my head what the right motivation is in all I do. But, on the other hand, we also live in a society that values success and judges things on the external. Very subconsciously, many of us may easily fall into the trap of counting our points even in the things of God: “I am better because I’ve done A, B and C. She is not as good because she’d done D, E and F.” The problem with using the world’s standards and values is that we can easily miss out the point of the Gospel and of Christianity. Yet, it permeates the church so easily.

OF THE SOUL | To The People We Love

Cell groups. Connect groups. Small groups. Life groups. Whatever you call it in your church, we know they are important. We grew up learning that these communities are there for us to do life together with fellow believers and for us to journey together in our faith. But what happens when they fall apart? What happens when you don’t get along with the community that is meant to be the closest to you? What happens when your leader or mentor stops trying?

In this two-part essay, Genevieve and Jireh share from their two different personal perspectives — one of the member and one of the leader. The truth is, Christian community may fail you every so often, but what should we do about it?

IN THE MIND | The Abnormal Normal

Our content editor, Joy, shares about her experience on the train one day when she overheard a conversation between a Chinese migrant worker and a local commuter in this stream-of-consciousness journal entry. In a season where diversity and the acceptance of all people groups are more important than ever, Joy challenges herself (and readers alike) on making these conversations a part of our new normal. A conversation to include these people groups in our daily lives is one step forward towards an inclusive community we all dream and fight for.

OF STRENGTH | The Dream I Left Behind

What happens when God tells you to surrender and let go of a dream He had given you many years ago? What happens when a chapter closes on something that you believed was God-sent? What happens when you have to give your dream away to someone else?

In this essay, former founder of MerryLoveWeddings, Liow Shuying, shares about her journey when she was contemplating giving her well-built business away. While many family and friends were questioning her decision, she knew that it was God who was taking her out of this dream. She shares about what it was like taking the first step into the wedding styling business, giving birth to her beloved first child in the middle of the journey, and her dilemma to give this all up. One significant thread through these seasons? That God was there through it all. He was already preparing her for what’s ahead.

To read these articles and more, shop our Babel issue on our shop now!

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About the author

Natalie Hanna Tan

Natalie Hanna Tan

Natalie is Founder and Editor-in-Chief of ALESCE. She enjoys telling stories through words and is a lover of good conversations, poetry, and all things pastel.

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