Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Traditions of men - Some random thoughts

A Story

This is a story one of the child care worker in a church where we attended service told my wife. This lady visited India on a mission trip once and met the person who was the overseer of their ministerial ventures in India, which included orphanages and hospitals in poverty stricken areas of Southern India.

He was born to a couple who practiced Hindu religion for so many years, probably for so many generations. His grand parents did ‘puja’ everyday, a Hindu religious ritual, where they typically put the statues or pictures of gods in a room, recite some prayers sitting in front of those gods, throw flowers, and incenses on them. At the end of the ceremony, they usually take rice and milk in different pots and offer it the gods. They keep the rice and milk in front of gods and leave from the room and lock the room down. The belief is, at night the gods would eat the rice and drink the milk, showing their satisfaction in their puja. If they didn’t eat, that means they were not happy and the ‘puja’ should be prolonged the next day.

After his grand parents, his parents continued the same.

As a boy he too was asked to participate in the ritual and witnessed with his own eyes that the next day both rice and milk are gone miraculously. But the whole thing, gods eating rice and drinking milk didn’t really resonate with his teenage mind. One day he decided to investigate. It wasn’t that easy to make such a decision knowing the belief system of the entire family for so many years. But his young mind, curiosity and courage won. He wanted to see the gods coming and eating and drinking the stuff kept for them. He did not sleep one night, waited impatiently in the dark to see gods coming. In the silence and darkness of that night, to his surprise he saw some rats coming out of some debris in the corner of the room, eating all the rice and drinking the milk! That was a real shock to his tender mind. He was depressed and disillusioned.

For so many years, he along with his parents, grand parents and probably so many of his other relatives believed a lie. Now, he even wished he didn't see the rats.

He could have faked the belief and cheated his family next day onwards by suppressing the truth, but he decided not to. The next day, he brought this to the attention of his family members expecting that they would realize it was foolish to think that the food was eaten by gods. But to his surprise, they got so angry at him. They blamed his unbelief, yelled at him, threatened him if he tells this to anyone, and tortured him tremendously. It was as if they wanted to believe the lie to gratify their spiritual needs. Eventually, the climax of the story came and he was expelled from his family.

I don’t know all the details in between, but ultimately he found Jesus. He eventually started some outreach programs, charity organizations in collaboration with some U.S ministries.

American Politics

Some times the American Politics puzzles me, particularly the recent democratic politics. Hilary and Obama opposed on foreign policies, health care, military, religion and pretty much on everything for so many months while they were independently campaigning for becoming the presidential nominee. There were debates proving each sides, throwing dirt on each other, negative commercials, gossiping, anger, cries and all that. Now all of a sudden, they both, sharing the same stage, declared they are on this campaign together and embraced each other. What surprises me most is that people seems to be okay with that. They think there is nothing wrong. Are they reluctant to face reality or is it too easy to believe a lie majority believes?


When I sin, sometimes I try to convince myself that it was an 'accidental' sin. People say they don't sin deliberately but I don't believe them. When I sin, I sin deliberately. But I still try to see if I can escape from the guilt by my own.

We all try to escape from truth once in a while, hesitating to face the reality. But truth is still truth, it is absolute. Not everything we believe about God is not true as well, even some of the good things. The fact that we believe in something for so many years, decades or centuries doesn't make it true.

I believed for so many years that God was pleased when people attended Mass. Then I believed that the people who spoke in tongues were more spiritual than the others. For few years I thought pastors were our 'spiritual authority'. I thought I was a dump and was rejected by God when I heard people claiming that they all experienced the 'power of God' in worship services and private prayers. I thought I had no testimony to share, like them.

Okay, now watch this video... (Wondering if it's gods or rats doing it...)


Joel B. said...

I know what I feel right now but I don't know what to say...

I'm not the world's best representative of Jesus, but looking at this video just makes me sad for the church. Where's Jesus in this? Where's the Jesus who says, "if you've seen Me, you've seen the Father?" I know God does things in all kinds of ways in all kinds of people all over the world - even some things that make you go 'hmmmm' - but this doesn't look a bit like the Jesus I know.

Ok, I guess I sort of expressed what was on my heart. :)

Matthew Daelon said...

This is ridiculous. God is being portrayed as some drug you take to get high and stupid.

Matthew Daelon said...

Oh, and when you kick someone in the face...Just because they get knocked out doesn't mean it was God's Spirit. I can't believe people listen to this.

Bino M. said...

I was speechless when I first saw it. It's amazing people would run to Florida thinking there is god moving...

"For false Christs and false prophets will appear and perform great signs and miracles to deceive even the elect—if that were possible. See, I have told you ahead of time. "So if anyone tells you, 'There he is, out in the desert,' do not go out; or, 'Here he is, in the inner rooms,' do not believe it."
- Matthew 24:24

Aida said...

I couldn't watch the entire thing. It was just more than I could handle.

It's so sad. We have the Holy Spirit living in us and we can experience his life EVERY day, EVERY moment. Why do we feel that we have to go chasing around looking for him?

I have a book ftom my revival seeking days and one day I was looking at it when it struck me that all of the examples given of revivals in the Bible were from the OT. Other than Pentecost, there are no examples in the NT of revivals.

Why is that? It's because we're now alive in Christ; we're no longer dead. We don't need a revival. All we need is a revelation of who we are in Christ and that his Spirit is always with us.

I don't need to go to Lakeland or anywhere else to get that. I can get that in my kitchen washing my dishes or wherever I am.

Bino M. said...

We have the Holy Spirit living in us and we can experience his life EVERY day, EVERY moment. Why do we feel that we have to go chasing around looking for him?

That is the same question I struggled with for so much time. 'Chasing after Him' is totally contrary to the idea of 'Sabbath rest' according to the New Covenant. We are asked to rest because Christ has accomplished it all for us. Bible says, 'we are given EVERYTHING we need for life and godliness', if so, why do we still look for something as though we are 'missing' something?

True revival to me, is the realization that we don't need man-made revivals anymore. We are complete in Christ, lacking nothing in Him. For the rest of the life we could spend discovering our blessings in Him and 'discovering' is so very different from 'seeking' some emotional gratifications.

Joel B. said...

Sometimes it seems to me as if those looking for "revival" are indeed looking for something that they think they're lacking, but really they already have.

As Aida says, they look to a bunch of Old Testament manifestations... that don't even relate to life in Christ! Even on the day of Pentecost the people weren't looking for a revival.

I've seen people trying to "re-live" the "upper room experience" of Acts 1, and trying to get conditions similar to the day of Pentecost (Acts 2) in order to have some sort of revival happen. The Bible says "they were all with one accord," and I've heard people say that "revival" won't happen until we're all in one accord! All of this had always turned me off, and then one time my 'grace' pastor was talking about this and he said it was GOD who made that happen, not the plans of man. That settled it for me. :) Those people, 2,000 years ago, couldn't have done a thing to make it happen or stop it from happening or to change it in any way.

Aida said...

Joel, while you were describing the day of Pentecost, the thought occurred to me that the believers were waiting for the Holy Spirit to come.

He's already come and he's here now so we don't have to copy what they did. We also don't have to tarry for him to come. All we have to do is accept that by faith and begin to act as though it's true because it is.

Joel B. said...

I think that's a great point Aida! Jesus ascended and promised the Holy Spirit would come. He's now come and we're no longer looking for Him!

In our latest program, Mike and I talk about the practice of "inviting God's presence" into our meetings and worship services. Well, where did He go??? Wasn't He already here with us?!

I do indeed think that people are looking for "revivals" because they're not taking the truth of God's presence by faith. They don't sense God with their five senses (sight, smell, taste, hearing, feeling), so they think they need to do something in order to get Him to manifest Himself. Not that He can't or doesn't manifest Himself to our five senses! But blessed is the person who has not seen but believes.

I truly love it when my Daddy reveals Himself to me in my various senses and emotions, etc. But that which is born of the flesh is flesh and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit and I need to trust that I am complete in Him whether I sense it or not. When I trust the truth that He has already spoken (that is already true), I don't need to wait or tarry for something to happen. As you say, I accept it by faith and act as though it's true because it is! Great stuff!

Aida said...

Joel, it really is that simple but religion has so complicated it that it's difficult for people to see the truth.

I'm at a place now that I just know that he's there whether I sense him or not. I'm always aware of his presence. Even if I get involved and am not thinking about him at that moment, when I get uninvolved, my thoughts return to him quickly.

This to me is a wonderful way to live rather than trying to conjure up his presence. The other was just too discouraging since I couldn't pull him up using my bag of tricks.

Bino M. said...

Joel and Aida,

A lot of insights!

I know what you are saying about 're-living' the 'upper room experience'. Upper room experience cannot be relived because it was a one time historic event where God's Holy Spirt, as promised by Jesus, came to the earth to live permanently in the hearts of people. There was not just the speaking in tongues, but 'tongues of fire' came down from heaven with 'blowing of a violent wind', which I never seen in today's 're-living' meetings.

Why? Speaking in tongues part can be duplicated, but not the other events, so people get hung up on just the tongues.

Isn't it sad that people prefer to brag about what they do, instead of proclaiming what Jesus already did on their behalf? They brag about the number of demons they expelled, the number of people they healed and the number of miracles they performed and how much they prophesied or spoke in tongues.

Jesus told such people, 'depart from me, I never knew you'.

I believe in spiritual gifts but that is NOT a major concern for me. When we replace so much major things in the Bible (Salvation, Walking by faith, living in an authentic relationship with Jesus etc) for minor things (gifts, baptism etc), it can make us unbalanced.

I found a very interesting discussion on the same topic over at the God journey:
Revival Fever (Look for the title Revival Fever)