Tuesday, September 9, 2008

'Benefits' of being in the institutional church.

To be honest, there are some 'benefits' being in the institutional church for a while and then leave, so that today I can have little fun sharing my experiences with you.
  • I can share the torment, heart ache, judgment, foolishness, lifelessness and the double talk I went through with another soul today who is trapped in religion.
  • I can chuckle on some of the double standards I held.
  • Think and wonder how self-righteous I was.
  • How I tried to split the doctrinal hairs of many minor issues in the Bible, while I had everything wrong on the majors in the Bible.
  • Today I can share the stories with someone else (who can relate) how difficult it was to hide my true face with a smiley mask.
  • How desperately I wanted to sell ‘Jesus’ and evangelize the entire world but couldn’t get even a single soul to the magic level of 'sinner’s prayer'.
  • How I admired those with seminary degrees and PhD’s at the end of their names; and felt a bit envious about them seeing all the respect and admiration they get from people.
  • How reverent I was in the presence of people with a ‘Rev.’ in front of their names.
  • How faithful I was in my tithing that I felt so good, self-righteous and prideful after putting each check in the offering plate.
  • How difficult it was to welcome the old ex-prostitute who came to the door and how difficult was it to love her.
  • How heated the debate was do determine whether to let her participate in the Lord's supper since she wasn't baptized.
  • What a perfect devotion I had towards the ‘authority’ of the church and how submissive I was to them.
  • How wonderful I felt when they talked about the possibility of including me in the church board.
  • The privileges I enjoyed as being an 'official member' of the church and I even dreamed about the nice things people would tell about me during my funeral.
  • How wonderful the food was in the fellowship hours after the service and I always appreciated those ice creams and pizzas people brought for their children's birthdays.
  • How much sins I confessed during the endless alter calls Sunday after Sunday, and still wondered and worried if I were really forgiven, even saved.
  • How beautiful it was to memorize the fruits of the spirit and I find it even challenging to memorize it in the order it is written in Bible; but didn’t have a clue what it was like bearing those fruits in real life.
  • How enthusiastically I looked forward to each 'service' in order to get a boost to my spiritual energy.
  • How (righteously) angry I was at my wife for being late to dress up kids to go to church on Sunday mornings.
  • What a struggle it was to 'keep' my salvation and how much I searched internet to study how conditional the salvation was.
  • How desperately I wanted to pursue holiness and acceptance through - fasting, prayer, Bible study, charity, dedication, church work and service.
  • How much I admired faith healers and wished (secretly) if I could do the 'blowing' like them so that the entire people in the auditorium would fall like dead bodies.
  • How I wanted to show off the thick Bibles/concordances/study tools etc I owned.
  • How great I felt when the pastor once told that I pray very well and effectively after listening to one of my public prayers.
  • How much I looked forward for the mention of my name by the pastor from pulpit about the tireless services I did for the church.
  • How I felt so worthy when once pastor publicly praised me for giving a ride for a family who didn't have a car and lived far away.
  • How accurately I learned to define salvation as a step by step process starting from Romans 10:9
  • How angry I used to get at the slow old lady drivers while speeding to the church On Sunday mornings while blaming my wife all the way for being late.
  • How many times I have used the 'F' word (in my heart) at the sluggish drivers while driving to the 'House of the Lord'!
  • What a terrible fight my wife and I used to have during the 30 minutes drive to church; but after stepping into the building how cleverly we tried to appear as if we were the happiest couple in the world.
  • How wisely I thought it was my wife's job to take care of the kids during the service letting her husband to attend the service and gain all the insights from the preaching, which (I thought) she couldn't gain even if she attended!
  • What a dirty hypocrite was I! What a white washed tomb was I! How much I dragged the 'filthy rags' all along...
Aaah... Thank God for rescuing me from the unauthentic, hypocritical, self-righteous, unreal, dishonest lifestyle of a Pharisee... and humbling me and putting me back on the solid ground of your awesome grace where love and love alone reigns all the more. Hallelujah!

What a relief it is to be free from institutionalism!


Anonymous said...

Great list! Seriously...I can relate to a TON there.
Love the last paragraph and sentence. Amen!

~Amy :)

Smita said...

:) -- Yes. I still remember those days when I always thought in my mind. Why he is going to the "house of the Lord" after getting mad at me for getting a little bit late:).

All religious people have zeal for their religion(they think it is for God). I thank God for showing us that it is His love that matters and nothing.Nothing else. --- Smita (Bino's wife)

RJW said...

The "F-bomb", really? Wow! Maybe it was ok that you just thought it and didn't say it. Watcha think? ;)

Bino M. said...

Ya, we care about only what comes our of our mouth. Pharisees had everything perfect outwardly, but Jesus called them white washed tombs. Now, do I need to explain what is inside the tomb? :)

Joel B. said...

You made me tired, just remembering all those things that I "miss" too. :)

Great to hear from Smita! Please tell us more stories about Bino. LOL Just kidding. :)

Bino M. said...

Don't try to spoil my public image :)