Thursday, October 29, 2009

Let's not keep the common sense aside

I have been listening to the 'growing in grace' podcasts a lot lately. In more than one episodes, I heard Mike Kapler saying, "let's not keep the common sense aside". He says that especially when it comes to obedience and keeping the law.

I think, being honest to ourselves is all it takes to come to the conclusion that religion doesn't work. It doesn't matter which religion it is. Each has its own 'ways' to please their god. For some, their god is pleased when they follow certain set of rules, laws, regulations or a list of do's and don'ts. Some gods are pleased when we gather at particular place at a particular time of a week. Some are pleased when we chant some prayers or starve through fasting. Some are pleased when we put some dollar bills into an offering plate. Some are pleased when we confess all our sins.

I am not excluding Christian religion from this. Christians says their god is omnipotent, omnipresent, and omniscient. He is a perfectly holy god. He is self-sufficient. That being the case, isn't it a futile act attempting to please that god through our puny works? Who in their right mind can logically come to a conclusion that they can somehow please god through all these? Not just that, some people think that they can make god angry! As though god has an emotional imbalance or something- easily angered, easily provoked but somehow hard to please.

I feel stupid for believing such a lie for a long time in my life. I thought my god would be pleased when I achieve sinless perfection. I thought I was pleasing him when I did the works of evangelism. I thought, the more I studied the Bible, he is more pleased. The more I set apart a 'quiet time', I thought I can somehow tap into his presence. I thought I could manipulate god through 'effective' prayer (by quoting scriptures, for example). I thought god was a genie who comes out and bless me when I give my money. I kept doing all these for years and years even though I never felt contented nor reached a satisfying point in my life to boldly say that I pleased him. I tried to do all the right things and tried not to do any wrong things to keep god from getting angry at me. But I always felt that I fall short. So, I successfully hid my burned out heart from others.

For a long time in my life, I lived an illogical spiritual life. I kept my common sense aside and listened and followed other illogical spiritual leaders out there. I wasn't even honest to myself. I pretended as if my spirituality was working.

Then there came a time in my life that I had to take a step back and look at the foolishness of my belief system. Trying to achieve sinless perfection? Trying to earn forgiveness through confessing all my sins on a daily basis? Trying to keep the law? Trying to love my neighbors as myself? Trying to love the enemies? Are you kidding?

I didn't know that James said, "whoever keeps the whole law and yet stumbles at just one point is guilty of breaking all of it." Will I ever be accepted by this god? Will I ever be able to say that I confessed all my sins that I am now fully forgiven? Will I ever feel the security of god's love? Will I ever feel any kind of security, contentment or peace?

If you don't cheat in answering those questions, if you can be honest to yourself, the only thing you can do is - give up! That’s true - just give up!

That’s where my journey started. I fist gave up, then God took over…

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

What's new?

I am tremendously blessed by the love and encouragement I received from my brothers and sisters through comments to my last post, emails, FB messages etc. I want to thank each one of you from the bottom of my heart. I also want to thank Jesus for this on-line community I am part of. Though its electronic and 2 dimensional, blogging and facebooking are already a huge part of my life now.

In the last post, I mentioned about a pending job opportunity. I want to update everyone that It has worked out in my favor. After a lengthy process (background check etc) and a lot of paper work, on Monday I started on the new job at Ford Motor Company. It's been only 2 days, but so far I like it. Just like any new job, there are times I feel stupid and clueless :). But I think I will get over it as I get the clearer picture of the tasks I have to do in the coming days. I am excited about this opportunity and kind of eager to work.

So, thats the good news!

I like to add something I read over at Joel's blog as an encouragement to those who are currently unemployed and struggling in various ways:

There's nothing going on that God's not aware of. He's in us, He is our life.

He's someone who is conscious about us all the time - inclined toward us all the time - and ever aware of what we're thinking, feeling, saying, doing, being, wanting, contemplating, desiring...

I believe it. Our God is not passive (though sometimes we feel so). He is always holding us in His hands. We are safe, secured and He will turn things into our favor at the end. We may not know how. But He will.

Once again, thank you all and I love you all.

Sunday, October 4, 2009

I am still here.

It's been over a month since I have written anything here. The truth is I didn't have much to share and I didn't feel like doing posts religiously. My primary source of encouragement and spiritual food is usually books and I haven't been reading a lot lately. Reading is what usually keep my mind alive and helps me to focus and stretch my thinking a little.

On September 30th, I became officially unemployed and my wife is unemployed since Aug 30. So in the past few weeks we were spending a lot of our time and energy to upgrade our skills set, posting resumes, attending calls etc. To get a job in this economy, especially here in Motor city, we ought to be very competitive because there are not many hiring and those who hire, hire only the best of the best.

On the otherside, the whole ordeal has been very humbling and it gives me time to reflect upon the lives of people who are struggling without job. It helps me to slow down and spend more time with kids. I am not 'on the go' all the time now.

There are couple of options (contract positions) pending for me which I will have more clarity next week. So I am still waiting. If everything goes well, I will have some official confirmation sometime next week. I don't know what God has in store for me. I will post an update later next week.

I also find myself picking books back again since last week. I am currently reading "Loving our kids on purpose" by Danny Silk, which I am liking very much. It's about parenting from a grace-perspective - love, trust and freedom; just the contrary to much of the worldly parenting principles. I am glad it's not a 'how-to' book.

Thats all for now. Thank you all for the prayers, thoughts and encouragements. I have a lot of unread blog posts in my google reader and I am planning on catching up some of my blog reading in the coming days. Much love, grace and peace to you all.