Tuesday, 30 December 2008

sacrifice

And so am I writing this for you or am I writing this for me? Is it for me to give up my petty little pride war with myself or am I to pursue empty dreams of pure motives?

Pretty words, surely. I know I'm good at pretty little words, designed to stir up emotions. But are they the right words?

It feels like going out on a limb, saying the stuff I'm intending to say. I don't know if it will ring true, if it will address the right issues at the right moment. But it feels strangely like speaking to myself. It feels like reminding myself that my song is my sacrifice. That that is an area that I will truly have to lay down my pride every single day. And it will cost.

It will cost me the idea of freedom and anonymity. It will cost me the right to live and dress any way that I want to. It will drive from my head every single niggling thought that my voice is my own, that my talent is my own to use as I will. It will crush every diva thought that I am better than you just because of what I can do.

Most of all, it requires that I give up this stupid idea that I cannot serve God because my motives are not as pure as I wish them to be, because this is what it means to give up your all. To make your most precious gift, most beloved part of yourself, to make it His.

Don't show off. Show up.

Monday, 22 December 2008

unspeakable

I wish I had more to say about Christmas.
But I can't find words.

I feel like I have things to say, but I don't know how to say it.
So for now it will suffice that I have decided to stay, and stay I will.

How do you describe a feeling that has endless words in your mind that won't stay written, thoughts that are jumbled, and yet so clear, ungraspable if there is such a word.

But clarity is needed, clarity in some ways has come but not in everything.
Maybe that is enough for now.

Saturday, 20 December 2008

dreams

So I said that I didn't really have any dreams, that I've decided not to think so far into the future. And maybe it's true, or maybe it's not.

Or maybe I deny myself the dreams that I dream because everything I have ever hoped and dreamed for has been buried and crushed and shattered. Maybe there are too many hurts that I cannot overcome, or hurdles that I cannot force myself to face. Maybe I am not good enough, talented enough or persistent enough to see what I dreamed of come true.

Or maybe I have too many dreams, too many things riding along in my head and heart that I don't know which to pursue, or how to go about it. Maybe I have too much wealth of ambition and desires that I cannot grasp all and so I do not grasp anything at all, like the greedy monkey who was trapped because he would not let go of the treasures he grasped in the bottle.

And so I withdraw into my shell and hide, and tell myself that if my motivations are not right, I do not want to do anything that would put me in a situation that would expose the depth and height and width of pride and hypocrisy that I see in myself every day. So maybe I am proud in my abstinence, just as I feared that I would be proud in my participation.

And so maybe, just maybe, I am just thinking too hard again, trying to squeeze out motivations that are or are not there, trying to track down if I glory in myself or if I glory in God, forgetting once again, that when we glorify God, God himself is our glory.

Thursday, 11 December 2008

The Moab Option

Before Israel was ruled by kings, Elimelech from the tribe of Ephrath lived in the town of Bethlehem. His wife was named Naomi, and their two sons were Mahlon and Chilion. But when their crops failed, they moved to the country of Moab. And while they were there, Elimelech died, leaving Naomi with only her two sons. Later, Naomi's sons married Moabite women. One was named Orpah and the other Ruth. About ten years later, Mahlon and Chilion also died. Now Naomi had no husband or sons.

Ruth 1:1-5

The message preached was to stay in the land; stay in the place of God’s covering and planting. Leaving the hedge of God’s protection, as green as the grass may seem on the other side leads to even worse devastation.

Don’t take the Moab option. Simple enough, but it isn’t as clear-cut as that.

It would have been fairly simple if I had simply stopped going to church. The message then would be ‘go back to church’, except that if I had stopped going to church, I wouldn’t have heard the message. It’s fairly simple to tell one to stay in the land, no matter how bleak it looks. The question I struggle with now is this: Where is the land?

Is it here, or was it there? Did I step out of the land or did I step into it? I have no clue and I don’t know where to look. If feelings were a true indicator of anything, neither one would serve. If rationality were to prevail, I would say the here and the now is the best place for this time. But if you were to look forward to the future and try to see where I would be best placed, like a pawn in a chess game, I would tell you that I don’t know.

I don’t want to make a decision based purely on emotions neither do I want to make it based on sheer rationality. I’ve made those before and what may seem rational may not exactly be right. Neither is what’s emotional. Added to that, I don’t know what I really feel anymore; it could be hormones or guilt or God.

It doesn’t make sense, this decision, and yet it does. Why do I always feel as if it’s time to give up everything and move again just when I’m finally being settled? Just when I’m finally beginning to be comfortable with myself and think that maybe this time, just maybe I can belong? Is it something in my psyche that tells me it’s not okay to be comfortable or happy? That it’s better to be one, alone?

Is this exile temporary or permanent, self-inflicted or God-led? Is it even exile? It could very well be the Promised Land. It’s not as if I have forsaken the company of the saints. If anything, I have aligned myself to the company of those that have taken me in unconditionally.

But where do I go from here? Do I make a decision now to commit, to stay, build and grow or do I return to where awkwardness and bitterness still roots in my heart?

Maybe the answer is as they say; to stay until I am sure that I am to leave. Until I have comfort in leaving. The other question then arises: if this were a command from God, what then would this disobedience cost me? And yet I don’t know one way or another which is God and which is me and which or all could be the Enemy’s victory.

Don’t take the Moab option. Easy enough to say, but which one is it?

Saturday, 1 November 2008

disassociation

So disassociation is the watchword, where I am still too linked to where I don't want to be and yet too distant from where I am.
Can you truly disassociate from your past?
Or will it follow you like a ball and chain?

I have forgotten how to disengage.
Yet I have not yet learnt to engage.

Thursday, 23 October 2008

big things

I guess it was a little thing, but sometimes, little things are BIG things, you know?
It was just a comment on Genesis 3:21, where it goes: "And LORD God made garments of skin for Adam and his wife, and clothed them." She gave a comment to the effect that it was a little thing, like you know, just to care that Adam and Eve had clothes to wear.
Then this thing goes off in my brain saying "No, you idiot, it's a BIG thing. Think! That was the FIRST shedding of blood. God kills something. His. Own. Creation. Don'tyougeddit. It's the first sacrifice. Of course it's a BIG thing. There is no such thing as 'well, He could have let them go off naked and not covered their sin'. It wasn't a spur of the moment thing. It was part of the plan."
And I don't know why I was so uptight about it. I mean, interpretation, yes? She was looking at it from a different angle. I guess she was looking at it from the angle of how God must have been so disappointed when Adam and Eve sinned. How He must have felt. Yeah, I know. He must have felt devastated. And yet when you think of it this way, that the Lamb was slain before the beginning of time, you know that He knew it would happen. Doesn't make it any less devastating, but He already had his plan in place. And that first sacrifice was necessary. To purge them of their sin before they stepped out of Eden. To demonstrate to them sacrifice, and the purification of blood. To set the tone at the top.
I don't really know what I'm getting at.
All I know is that it was a big thing, and you can't make big things small.

Sunday, 12 October 2008

by the fireplace: life. passion. dilemma

Many are the plans in a man’s heart, but it is the LORD’s purpose that prevails.
Proverbs 19:21

Life
To summarize life at the moment, the perfect word would be “restless”. It’s as if I’m tired – of what exactly, I can’t tell you. Yet the feeling is there, that there has to be something more than this endless life cycle of work, sleep, work, sleep and weekend.
It’s not as if I’m struggling at work. Work is good – I got my promotion and I’m getting through the why am I so stupid now phase while I adjust to the new responsibilities and expectations. In fact, leaving my job now, just when everything is going right, would be downright stupid. So why do I feel as if I need to break out somewhere? Why do I feel as if I’m fed-up?
Church wise, I’m a little stuck. I don’t know if I should go forward, go backward, or stay where I am, if that makes sense. I had felt it was time to move on from here, but I didn’t know if I should go back or keep searching. And then suddenly I find myself in a position where it is desirable to stay. As if something is finally beckoning me, and I am finally being built in. And yet, I don’t know if it’s strong enough.
On the other hand, places and faces are beckoning and there is always that feeling that anywhere is better than here. Funny, that I who felt so strongly that I should come back to Penang am currently feeling the strongest urge ever to leave it. To run away. To fly, and never look back.

Passion
The thing is, I know my passion. I want to write. Dance. Sing. Act. I don’t know that I have anything else that I want to do. And yet, it is too many. I don’t know whether I can do all, or if I have to choose some. And even then, I don’t know if my passion is strong enough to bring me through, or if I have talent enough to sustain me.

Dilemma
And that is it. I don’t know what I want and I don’t know how to get it. How can I get it if I don’t know what it is?
And in the end, what I really want is to make what I have count for God, and yet, I don’t know how when I’m not even actually doing anything. Sometimes, it’s as if people’s testimonies seem so easy. They knew what God was saying and they went for it. Sometimes I don’t think I know what God is saying. And everything is like a blur. It could be this, or it could be that, but I don’t know. I just don’t.

So we lash out at God, when we are the ones who are not listening
I’m trying to put a positive spin on this, I am. I don’t like to end a fireplace on a negative note.
But sometimes, to be honest, you can’t give people what they are expecting, and that is something I am dealing with right now. I am dealing with the fact that so many of the things that I want to do or think I should do, and even the things that I don’t do, or hide, is due to the reality that I have grown up with a mindset of always thinking of other people first. It’s not necessarily a bad thing, but to always have in your mind “but what will so-and-so say” when deciding the next course of action is not a very good thing either.
And so maybe that is the first step in solving all this life, passion, dilemma storm: to stop worrying about what other church members, miscellaneous friends or so-and-so’s will say, but to hang the inhibitions and go for it.

I mean, I may not have the exact right next step, but at least it’s a start?

Sunday, 14 September 2008

impressions

Muted. Flashily performance. Upscale elite. Not-for-the-masses. Too much background noise. Concert. What on earth happened to spell-check? Distracted. No raw passion. Bad mixing. Flat.

Maybe I have not disengaged enough to go back with a clear mind.

Thought for the day: are you taking offense at the church or on behalf of? And why?

Interestingly, Ps Charles Curtis made this comment on joining and fitting into the church: is God joining you to the church?
And it brings back that point that yes, try as you wish to fit in, if God is joining you in, you will belong and if He is not, you won't. So the question that comes again is this: where do I belong?

Quiet entry, quiet exit.
If only I was not intent on avoidance.

Thursday, 11 September 2008

by the fireplace: faith

Psalm 131:1-3

O LORD, my heart is not lifted up, my eyes are not raised too high; I do not occupy myself with things too great and too marvelous for me.
But I have calmed and quieted my soul, like a weaned child with its mother; my soul is like the weaned child that is with me.
O Israel, hope in the LORD from this time on and forevermore.

What faith is this that makes one hope where no hope is humanly possible? What faith is this that makes one hold on to dreams that are rapidly slipping away? And yet while the mind cannot fathom, the heart still believes. Or tries to.

I have been somewhat randomly following the story of Yi-Jien’s disappearance (for want of a better word) through the online news and Karcy’s blog. I don’t know why I care, really. I barely know him. My personal contact with him probably consists of an add on Facebook, and the furthest extent of our contact was through the now-defunct Phases Mailing List. Maybe as Karcy mentioned, “I also don't know why I'm so upset about Yi Jien, to be honest. There are a number of people I know who have passed away. Some are closer to me. I could move on easily. Maybe it's the missing business. Maybe it's the uncertainty of knowing whether God is in charge of all of this, if He's just leading us to false hopes, or if He is real at all.

It’s this absence of closure. I don’t know what it is between me, faith and closure. There’s this constant tension that wants any evidence, even a body, to finalise things. And yet it seems that there are too many people who have had (or said they have had) visions of seeing him alive, that the faith part rises hoping that he comes home alive, to prove yet again that our God is real. But will it really make any difference to me?

Taking it nearer home, there are things that I am hoping, wishing and praying for. At times, I have faith to believe that it’s right, that it’s time, and that God will grant me what I desire. At the same time, I have this niggling worry that I am wanting something that isn’t God’s best – that I am rushing things, or grasping at straws. And yet I don’t know. I’ve placed my heart too far into a situation that I know only time can tell. Still, the promise of His faithfulness is there, and I know through experience that as long as I bide His time, I will emerge unscathed. Maybe not “untouched” in a sense, I know that if it doesn’t come true there will be disappointment and hurt, but not shattered.

Maybe that’s what surrendering to God really is about. Taking your hopes and dreams and putting them on the line with God and telling him, this is what I’m hoping for, but it’s okay if You don’t grant them because I know what You have planned will be way better than this, and then watching as He takes what you’ve given Him and shapes it into what He wants to give you.

So what faith is this that makes one hope where no hope is humanly possible? What faith is this that makes one hold on to dreams that are rapidly slipping away?

The faith that comes from knowing who your God is.

Wednesday, 27 August 2008

by the fireplace: 27 August 2008

Therefore, confess your sins to one another, and pray for one another so that you may be healed.
James 5:16a

It’s been knee-jerk responses ever since the startling revelation that the supposed cancer of a renowned youth pastor and song writer was a fake. On one hand are those who condemn him for what he has perpetrated and on the other, those who dispense grace and love like Panadol (simply, over-the-counter). And then there are those, somewhere along the line, who are simply bewildered and are asking the question, “Why? Why did he do it?” (I would rather ask the question how?) Of course there are those who don’t even care. (Would that make four hands?)

On one level, I don’t understand how he could have pulled off such a great fraud, one that lasted over two years, garnered thousands (or more? Fuzzy on that) in donations, and whose ‘truth’ was well-documented (and distributed). It must have taken great guts and audacity to pull such a scam off. And yet, on another level, I think understand two major factors of how he got to be where he was.

Primarily, he was a Pastor’s Kid (“PK”). In a large church. There was tremendous pressure to perform – to live up to be what the church expected him to be. He needed to be charismatic and spiritual, have everything together, show leadership potential, be involved in or head up a ministry, and basically, be, for the younger generation, everything his father was supposed to be for the older. Secondarily, he had a very visible ministry in a very visible church. The stakes are extraordinarily high.

Frankly, in such a set up, there is no room for mistakes. You are seen and looked up to by the world (or at least your world) and to admit to a sin would be a big no-no. It would be tragic. To step down of your own volition because you feel that you need to get your life right with God would be a cause for alarm. Why has he/she backslidden? What happened? And so in such a situation, the only thing he could have done was to press on. And hope. And pretend.

And that is what I understand. Because sometimes, the ministry to God seems faked and put on, like another garment, another mask. Because sometimes, the feeling inside that all might not be right has to be suppressed and shushed because I am a visible face in the ministry. And maybe, that is why I am comfortable where I am, in hiding again. Shari asked, “Did you ever consider that you feeling this responsibility is already a sign in the right direction?” Honest answer? I don’t know.

I agree with Colin Pearce in his scathing anti-heroism when he says,
“We keep needing success and heroism, signs and pointers and miracles to justify faith. It’s unbridled man-ism. It’s feeble. One person’s fall or departure from truth doesn’t negate the truth. Another’s rise and success doesn’t verify it.”
Yet at the same time, in our fleshly frailty, we all need someone visible to look up to. All very fine and good to say that we look to Jesus and try to be like him, but it’s often easier to follow a tangible person who is following Jesus, than to follow Jesus himself. Besides, doesn’t Hebrews 12:1 say that we have a great cloud of witnesses surrounding us? These include fallen men: Abraham lied about his wife, Jacob stole his brother’s inheritance, Moses finally didn’t enter the promised land because he showed his temper, Rahab was a harlot and David slept with another man’s wife and then got him killed to cover it up.

The thing is, like a little white lie, things tend to snowball and it takes great guts to set things right again. In fact, if you think about it, it often takes greater guts to admit to a wrong and a subsequent cover up, than it is to let the wrong go undetected. And the great thing in reading about this great cloud of witnesses, heroes of the faith, is that we know they messed up somewhere along the line, but God caught them, and brought them back. Abraham got caught out by the Pharoah. David got convicted by a prophet. We haven’t written them off from the hall of fame, or scrutinized each of David’s psalms to delete those (or at least the authorship of those) that he wrote “while in sin”.

This pastor merely decided to come clean out of conviction that the truth would set him free. True, it could have been done earlier, before damage was done. Or it could have been nipped in the bud before any of it started in the first place. But as it stands, it wasn’t, but it is now. Like Natasha Bedingfield says in her song Unwritten, “Today is where your book begins, the rest is still unwritten.”

I believe that Healer will be a timely song in a timely place for Michael Guglielmucci himself, because truth remains the truth and God remains God, whether or not you are whole or broken, right or wrong.

Healer – Michael Guglielmucci
You hold my every moment
You calm my raging seas
You walk with me through fire
And heal all my disease

I trust in You
I trust in You

I believe You're my Healer
I believe You are all I need
I believe You're my Portion
I believe You're more than enough for me
Jesus You're all I need

Nothing is impossible for You
Nothing is impossible for You
Nothing is impossible for You
You hold my world in Your hands


Good reads for further thought:

http://2minuteswithgod.blogspot.com/2008/08/mike-guglielmucci.html
http://www.alistercameron.com/2008/08/24/mike-guglielmucci-todd-bentley-repentance-starts-with-the-leaders/

Sunday, 10 August 2008

members

Class 101 is on August 24th.
But I don't know if I am ready for membership.
I don't know if I am ready for commitment.
I know God believes in second chances and clean slates, but sometimes I think I don't. I think that the weight of my failures and failings, the mess of my past and my thoughts somehow always catch up with me just when I think things are going to be different.
Why?
Maybe because I haven't come to a point where I know for sure that things will be okay no matter what. Maybe because I am still stuck at a stage where I scream at God when things don't work out the way I expected them to be, because I believed that He would take care of it.
Maybe I am screaming so much at God, that He just needs to take a step back and wait for me to grow hoarse before I will shut up and listen.
It's like I'm asking Him, what more do you want? and I know the answer is going to be everything, but I don't want to accept that.
So maybe the real issue is Lordship.
And maybe the other issue is that suddenly I am not very sure if I have heard right from God. What if what I thought was right, was really wrong?

Wednesday, 6 August 2008

Passion: a rumination

Maybe in starting I should clarify that I am tired of big events. I am tired of watching a generation get fired up about concerts and conferences and huge "worship" events, endlessly chattering about how good the music was, how awesome the performances were and how funny the speaker was, and then going home unchanged, unchanging.
Maybe I am not deeply emotional enough to be drawn so far into the atmosphere of the moment, or maybe I am too rational and rigid in my thinking that I am skeptical about present feelings. I don't understand how people say things like "It was awesome! I really felt God's presence" when I didn't feel anything (should I have?) but then go right on and talk about the weirdest / grossest / most inappropriate things when I want is to rest silently and ponder, or discuss something deeper.

It could be that I am just different. Strange. Weird. Anti-social.

Putting that into perspective, Passion was a rich mine of songs that went beyond pure emotional, egocentric modern lyrics into the depth of theology and fullness of God.

"Jesus Messiah" - Chris Tomlin

He became sin

Who knew no sin
That we might become His Righteousness
He humbled himself and carried the cross
Love so amazing

Love so amazing

(Chorus)

Jesus Messiah
Name above all names
Blessed Redeemer
Emmanuel
The rescue for sinners
The ransom from Heaven
Jesus Messiah
Lord of all

His body the bread

His blood the wine
Broken and poured out all for love
The whole earth trembled
And the veil was torn

(Chorus)

All I hope is in You

All I hope is in You
All the glory to You, God
The light of the world

We need songs like these to remind us. We need remembrance that He became sin for us. We need depth. Yes, we do need our emo "response" songs, but we have a surfeit of that. It could be that one of the reasons why songs in worship do not affect me as they used to, or as they do others, is the way I think too much about the lyrics, the way the words sound that distracts me, the meaninglessness of words that irritates me. I play with words, they are my pride and joy, they are my tools and craft. They have come to mean nothing. Empty. Noises. It is easier to sing 'I love You' in a song, because the melody is nice and catchy, than it is to say it to Him in person, or to show it in action. And yet a song that states "He became sin who knew no sin that we might become His Righteousness. He humbled himself and carried the cross, Love so amazing" is something that is a statement of fact in itself and whether you mean it or not, it remains true.

The heart of Passion revealed something deeper where we were shown the interconnectedness between each supposedly "separate" event in the world tour, each preceding stop praying and giving towards the coming one. Not your own, no, that none can say I did it, but for the next. Always for another, passing on what was received.

The message?

Indeed, while following the way of Your judgments, O Lord, we have waited for You eagerly; You name, even Your memory, is the desire of our souls. [Isaiah 26:8]

Now all these things are from God, who reconciled us to Himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation, namely, that God was in Christ reconciling the world to Himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and He has committed to us the word of reconciliation. Therefore we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God were making an appeal through us; we beg you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God. He made Him who know no sin to be sin on our behalf, so that we might become the righteousness of God in Him. [2 Cor 5: 18 - 21]


"Lord" has no meaning unless you have totally surrendered yourself. "Grace" has no meaning until you know that you have been judged and cannot redeem yourself. "Reconciliation" makes no sense unless you know that you've been separated.

Empty words, without its context. And yet, that is what the world needs. Reconciliation, though we sometimes refuse to see that we have fallen away, and grace, because no matter how much we delude ourselves, we know we can't make it on our own.

Empty words, without action put to it. So then again we come back to the same issue: what then are you going to do about it?

And the interesting, yet dangerous point, that Louie Giglio put out to us was this: we are not of the world, but we are still in it. We can be totally tripped out and crazy about God, but we need to be in our senses; to be able to relate to the world. We need to be able to talk to them about cars and games and books and cooking and everything else. We need to be able to be one of them. Just one of them. And yet be different. To know the greater goal. To be able to understand and not condemn. To be followers of Christ, and not holier-than-thou. We need to understand that THERE IS NO "US" AND "THEM", because we cannot win a fallen world by telling them how sinful they are.

That was not how God did it - He came down to our level and said, 'hey look, I know it's tough, but there's a better way, and I can help you. We can do it together.'

So why are we so embalmed in our Christian sub-culture that we repel all but the truest seekers? Can't we be like that girl Krista (sp?) who was so fervent for God and yet so down-to-earth and open to listen and empathise? Why can't we stop passing judgement?

Food for thought. Maybe food for action. The Passion Tour is something that must germinate in your heart and mind. I don't know how they make snap judgements about it being awesome. Maybe they think faster than I do. Maybe they have different criteria of judgement.

Passion needs more thought yet.

Sunday, 27 July 2008

justice

We were having a discussion on why Jesus died. One of the questions went: but why did he have to die?
I think the predominant answer was, because He wanted to forgive; because of love. He wanted to demonstrate love.
But couldn't he have done it some other way?

Funny thing is, it was brought to "no greater love than this, than for man to lay down his life for a friend."
While yes, true, Jesus had to die because He loved us and wanted us to go back to God, that isn't the whole part of the story. If it were, He could have loved us in any other way and forgiven us in any other way.

We were also asked what the cross meant to us.
Standard answers: love, forgiveness, grace, mercy, Jesus.
I answered justice. I don't know why. It was just... justice. Justice or injustice? Because what happened wasn't fair? I didn't know what to say, but right now, I think what I meant was just... justice, because justice had to happen, and it happened then.
And that is why Jesus had to die.

Why justice? Isn't love the best answer? Shouldn't it be the only answer?
Love is only one side of the coin.
What about the fact that God is Holy and cannot bear sin? What about the fact that there is no other way to become holy again other than through blood sacrifice? What about the fact that sin requires judgement and punishment?
Yes, God loved us.
But He died because to love us enough to make us holy again, the price had to be paid for sin.
You cannot have one without the other.
Anything less is to cheapen the Gospel.
And that we are doing every day.

On an aside, why is the symbol of the cross so lightly used now, even amongst Christians?
I think it's an overall symptom of the shallow understanding we have of the cross.
And satan knows, to destroy a culture, you tear down its symbols.
The cross has been so cheapened that it doesn't hold its proper meaning anymore. Instead, we have grown a subculture of "Christian" labels and slogans that nothing is meaningful to us if it doesn't come in nice catchy sound bytes.

bah, humbug

I don't think it's faith that I have issues with.
It's the whole church set up and how it just doesn't make sense. It's insular. And inbreeding. And we just don't see it. Why can't we see it? Why can't we show it up for what it really is?
But anyone who does that is branded as faithless. An infidel, if you would like to use that word. An anti-Christ, who is trying to tear down the church.
But it's the church that doesn't make sense. It's not serving it's purpose. It's a hierarchy to man. A structure clung on to because it used to work.
What difference does the lights and sound and fancy work do?
Nothing. It only stirs you up to throw you down again. The very nature of its highs and lows only serves to confuse, and where one could have been sure of faith, it obscures the issue and makes one discard it as mere emotionalism for the moment.
And yet, because of the way we have been brought up, it is necessary.
We need it because we can't understand anything that we can't feel.
What happened to faith? What happened to believing that which we cannot see nor touch nor feel?

trust

What we fail to trust, we will fight.
Why am I fighting you?
I know everything in my brain. So many things in my brain.
But I don't know what I am doing, and why.
Is this part of the plan?
Say yes, because at least knowing that something is supposed to be going right would be a nice feeling right now.
Controversial, you said.
Controversial, I am.
But I never thought it would be this way.
Where everyone else seems to know, but me.
What ever is said, it's not home. It is NOT home.
And I don't know how to fix it.
I give up knowing.
I give up understanding.
Give me the right to be peaceful in my unhappiness.
Let me know it's okay to be unsettled.
Let me know that it's alright to be not alright.
Isn't that where trust comes in?

Sunday, 20 July 2008

Churchianity

One of the biggest problems of churches today is churchianity. There are scores of young, second (or third or fourth) generation Christians who believe because their parents believe. They have no terms of reference beyond what the church says. In a logical debate, the best they can come up with is circular thinking that goes along the lines of "this is true because the Bible says it is true and the Bible is true because I believe it is true". If you take the Bible out of the equation and ask them how else they can prove that what they believe is true, they have no plausible answer. They go stammering back to the sentence, "but the Bible says..." This does not work in a world of skeptics.
Another thought forwarded was, "this is true for me. You must try it for yourself." If it is true for me because I believe it is true, and you must try it to know if it is true, how different is that from the new age thinking that says that truth is relative to a person? Fine and good for you if you think it's true. Whatever works for you, man.
We discussed in CLEY three of the common theories to disprove that Jesus rose from the dead.
One - he did not die. He fainted and woke up in the tomb. Stupid theory - the Roman soldiers were professionals at killing. I doubt that since they made sure the two thieves were dead that they would have missed out on making sure Jesus was dead.
Two - the disciples stole the body. Maybe, if they were desperate enough to break with their own ingrown Jewish tradition of not touching "unclean" things (hard to believe if you've ever tried to reason with those who are superstitious) and fight the Roman soldiers (It would have been a tough fight - I doubt that the Romans would slack in their jobs and they were highly trained, something that the Jews were not). Where then would they have put the body?
Three - the authorities themselves spirited away the body. If they had done this, why did they not bring it out when the news was being spread about that Jesus had risen? If they were in possession of his real body, they could have easily disproven the new religion and gotten rid of the disciples. What was there to gain in hiding the body?
The assumed position of the leader then was that we were all defending the resurrection of Jesus. I beg to differ. All we were doing was to show the pitfalls and fallacies of those theories because frankly, they do not make sense. But disproving those theories do not prove that Jesus rose. They do not give any facts that can conclusively show that he did or did not rise. All they prove is that he died and his body disappeared.
So when put to the question of what then is the evidence that he truly resurrected, you have to take it back to the texts. Obviously if you are questioning the truth of the Bible, you cannot point back to biblical statements on his appearances. Were there any other texts outside the Bible that say he was seen alive? I don't know. I haven't heard of them. Has he been seen since? Say, if he appeared 2,000 years ago, does he appear now? How do you know he is alive? What of all these other theories and archaeological finds that seem to say that all this is really another religious scam?
The young church of today cannot answer these questions. The only lingo they speak is Christianese, and this does not make sense to a skeptical world. They are not able to take themselves out of the cocoon they have put themselves into, with its prosperity teachings and their own brand of superstitions. And the deeper problem, I feel, is this: when faced with a problem, they spew out Churchified and Christianesed answers. They give you feel-good messages that make you feel guilty because it makes you wonder what you've done wrong and why this God of theirs doesn't love you. They have their set of answers that really doesn't answer anything. They say that you must reach your lowest point before you can truly seek God and find him and understand what they are talking about. What if you've reached your lowest point but you still don't? Then they say that you aren't seeking him. And again it is your fault. Always your fault. You did not have enough faith.
Maybe the best answer to a skeptical world is that we do not know. We too are humans. We can only make sense of what we have experienced and what we have in our hands. We cannot prove that Jesus is alive because we have not seen Him. You cannot prove that He did not rise because all the theories, in the end, break down. At an impasse like this, the best we can say is, because of faith we are willing to stake our lives on this. Would you stake yours on what you believe?

Sunday, 13 July 2008

of separate entities and SOX testing.

Like maybe the job gets to you and all that, right? But I was just mentioning to Shari that I would like to be a separate entity for once. I would like to stop thinking of myself as someone's sister, daughter or friend. I would like to stop comparing and thinking that everyone else seems to have it so much better than me. Smarter. More hardworking. Prettier. More talented. Less shy. More outgoing.
What is it about humans that we must have a list of things that we are not, and want to be them? It's like we keep harping on the liabilities and never take into account the assets that we have. Silly, right? Lending and borrowing circulates the money. Having a current ratio of more than 2:1 would mean that you're underutilising your cash. Sometimes you do need some liabilities.

And yet, as Ps Isaac expounded, it's all really about grace, and how it's a gift. And the favour is a gift. And that, really being grace, and being a gift, should keep us from looking down on ourselves. He thinks we're worth it. Who are you to think otherwise? Or who are you to judge if you're more "worth it" or not? And that should make us equal to everyone else. If only that lesson could be drilled down and nailed into my brain!

And so, the parable of the labourer brings this personal application that even if you're saved at different stages of your life, you still end up in the same heaven. You may have served God for 90 years, or 9 seconds, you may have been a good Christian all your life, or only some of it, but grace is grace, and covers all. It's unmerited. You can't buy it. You just receive. At the end of it, you must believe and receive that grace.
I figure it's a little like SOX (Sarbanes-Oxley) testing. As long as the controls work at the balance sheet date, you're alright. You're in the clear.

I suppose you need to be an accountant (or something related) to understand that.
And yes, I miss writing.

Sunday, 22 June 2008

...

Maybe sometimes just the right word in the right season will do more good than a dozen naggings.
I am tired of telling myself to do all the right things, out of guilt and out of the feeling that I need to do something to make things change. I keep saying things and thinking things and having good resolutions that never move beyond resolve.

Thank you for gently probing and waiting for me to get those stumbling words out, because for all I need to speak, I don't know how to phrase things right. I don't know why I'm telling you things, but you're there, and I trust you. Some how.

So please keep pressing on, because I'm trying to stop falling and I can't do it alone.

Saturday, 21 June 2008

hidden talents

I do think that there is a talent that only Christians possess - the ability to make a non-issue blow up into something hugely gigantic just by "trying to care".

But on talents, I think it is time to refocus on what I used to see as my main strength.
Writing.
There are too many issues with the stage that I am too tired to work through, and have no time to think about. It is something I am too unsure about.

Thinking about it, the issue stems from overprotectiveness, and the tendency to not do something just because the world has made it something bad. How about how the church can make it something good?

Maybe it is also time to get away again. There is something about this place that makes me afraid to be all that I want to be. There is something about this place that makes me care too much about what other people think. The issue here is really not about what other people think, but about what I think other people will think.

Who the heck cares about what other people think when I think that it's something God wants me to do?

(But if it backfires, I still have to face their I-told-you-so's.)

Do you gather faith like poppies?
Maybe I should just make a stand and strike out where I want to.

I do not wish to be afraid.

Monday, 16 June 2008

words

There are words that finally emerge from their obscurity from the process of talking (I need to do this more often, or rather, to do the right kind of talking more often).

Another issue I have with the church (that I'm supposedly in now) is the way they seem to make me a non-person. Until and unless they see me face to face.

To elaborate, a pet peeve of church (and also of my high school's CF) is the way they seem to assume that if they have told your mom / dad / sister / best friend / other friends, they have told you. I refuse to work under those conditions. If I am not valuable enough to you to have you tell me face-to-face - well, not even face-to-face, but at least through sms / mass e-mail
/ phone call, or at least something remotely personal - why should I bother to appear when you want me to, or do what you want me to?

I am not my mom / dad / sister / best friend / other person. I am me, and I don't have any telepathic abilities. I can't read their minds. Or yours.

I am tired of being a non-person who is only remembered via someone else (oh yeah, we must invite her sister too, right?), or by being actually physically in front of their faces (hey, I haven't seen you for quite a while huh...[but i was on msn, you know?])

Sunday, 1 June 2008

i

I am springtime's waters
Flooding down your veins
Torrents of your past
Drowning all your pain

I am summer's dryness
Hot against your skin
Sucking up your life
Drying up your soul

I am autumn's wind
Harsh upon your body
Hard against the rocks
Breaking all you hold

I am winter's breath
Cold upon your fingers
Strong about your heart
Never let you go

I am all you wished you were
And all you hate to be
I am fey, unveiled, revealed
I was never meant to be.

Thursday, 22 May 2008

whys

Why can't I see things the way you see it?
Why do I have to be all negative and despondent and harsh?
Why am I always so hard and afraid?
Why can't I just do what I think I should do?
Why can't I just make up my mind?
Why does it feel that every decision I'm making is the wrong one?
Why do I bother so much about what others say?
Why can't everyone else just shut up?
Why can't I sort out between feelings and God?
Why am I so worried about what you say?

Monday, 19 May 2008

angst

"But how long can mere responsibility tie me to a place I don’t really feel a part of?"
Dear God,
Are you there?
I thought I knew what you were saying, but I don't know anymore.
So many times I thought... that this was it. This was right. This would work.
But I'm still here, again.
I thought coming back was right. I thought starting CAM was right. I thought I was ready to take flight.
I was wrong.
I thought I could stay. I thought I could finally build. I thought that maybe, this time, something new and beautiful would emerge.
I was wrong.
I thought leaving was right. I thought that if I could only see things from a new perspective, things would be different.
I don't know.
I don't know what you're saying anymore, because there are so many voices crowding me. There are so many past decisions that made sense, that sounded right, that felt right, but now in the light of newer decisions, are clashing together.
And bringing them all together now, I don't know which is right and which is wrong. To go or to stay. To dig and build, or to find a new home.
Maybe the right decision is to just let all of this force me out into going somewhere new, and somewhere fresh, where all the old voices and patterns won't force me back into the shell that I've built around my heart.
I was so sure that I was to be here. Now. Then I was so sure that I was to leave. Now.
All I can say at this moment in time is, I don't know anymore. The voices won't rest, and my heart won't feel.
Maybe that's why I turn up the music, so I won't think. So that I won't hear anything past the blast of sound.
But maybe that's why I'm not hearing you either. Because I won't allow myself to.
I don't know, God.
I can't hear you.
And I don't know if I'm trying all that hard to anymore.
Let me go, but don't.

Find me. Please.

Tuesday, 13 May 2008

thoughts

[I don't know how right this is, but it's been fermenting for a while.]

Christianity is not overt. It does not push itself in your face and exert its spirituality.
Christianity is not covert. It does not hide itself behind the curtains or switch itself off in embarrassment.

Christianity is. It's just there, if you choose to see it. Or not there, if you choose not to.

Because everything is an interpretation, but which is the true one?

---

Modern worship songs are too egocentric. They focus on "I". "I will worship", "I will come", "I live for you". They are difficult songs to sing, if you happen to be facing a low in your spiritual life. And so many people lie every Sunday, singing an "I will / I love you" song to God that they don't mean. Or they think they mean.

Maybe that's why I sometimes prefer hymns that focus on who God is. So even if you're feeling terrible, you can know that the words you're singing are true.

Monday, 12 May 2008

of two minds

somewhere along the lines of:
who am i, 23 and it's all a lie
thought i knew who i was
i thought that You were here with me
but this darkness is breaking everything in me
and these infinite questions have shattered all the peace

but i won't question in the dark
what is true out in the light
i will follow after you
through the sun and through the night

cause You've got me right where You want me
yeah, You've got me right where I need to be
yeah, and i'm standing amazed

where did it go, 33 and it's gone so fast
thought i knew who i was
i thought that You were leading me
but this depression is crashing in on me
and i'm not the half the man i hoped i'd be

but i won't question in the dark
what is true out in the light
i will follow after you
through the storm and through the fight

cause You've got me right where You want me
yeah, You've got me right where I need to be
yeah, and i'm standing amazed
Amazed/Jason Roy/Building 429
leading up to:
come like You promised You would
i want to surrender for good
i know that i need You and i don't
want to keep living life alone
so take this heart and make it new
make it true make it like You
take my hands i lift them high
they're yours not mine to do

do what You will
do what You will
do what You will

i feel like a blind man in Your sight
i know that i'm wicked in Your eyes
so wash me and make me shine like Your
Son, i want to tell everyone that
You're the only one

i'm ready now, i'm ready now
i'm ready now, do what You will
i'm ready now
i'm ready now
i'm ready now
Ready Now/Jared Anderson/Desperation Band
But it's not quite there yet.

Sunday, 11 May 2008

Sunday writings

Follow Him, they said to me
And pointed down the road
I set my feet to follow them
With my heavy load
Far ahead, through misty ways
Lost sight of what was true
Called aloud in hopes that they
Would lead me back to You
Resounding back I thought I heard
A whisper in the night
But around the bend a fork reared
Its head to my sight
To the right they called to follow
Where they went and where they stayed
But the other path still draws me
And what I thought I heard You say
Now I don't know how to find You
And I don't know who You are
I don't know what You're saying
Through the babble from afar
I can't say that I do love You
I've too cold and closed a heart
And all I am is fragile
All I am is crumbling apart

---

When is it right to revisit past decisions?

---

And resounding again: am I too cold?

Saturday, 26 April 2008

Church

I believe in the sanctity of the Church as a body, but not in the infallibility of the church as a unit.

AP was telling me about the coming Ministry Fair and how she's going to add in an advert for CAM (which I'm still depressed over, I don't think anything will come of it) and I was trying to tell her that I'm taking a break. Stepping down. Resigning. She was... I suppose she was everything I had expected everyone to react like, except no one has reacted that way so far. Is there some sort of birthright that says that if you were "born" (so to speak) in a church, that you must be a member of it all the days of your life? What happened to free will and the Church as a body? One can reasonably understand that others are in different churches because of their preference and God's leading, and / or due to personal reasons such as friends and relationships, but can't one understand that when someone doesn't really feel that strength of ownership in a particular church anymore that that someone should be given the leeway to try and discover if there is somewhere else more suitable? (I'm not talking a total drop out here.)

I don't know if it's right or wrong, but I believe in the Church as a body. I believe that churches, individually, should still come together and pull together as the Church as a whole. Yes, it's bad if there's a lot of "stealing of sheep" because there's no point in that (if it's undertaken as an exercise on its own), but what about legitimate needs of current members when a specific church isn't really meeting them?
Which is why I also believe in para-church organisations, such as the GCF, SU and FES. Because sometimes some needs and some work can only be done outside the church.

It's not that I'm saying one shouldn't be part of a local church. You should be part of a local church. It just doesn't have to be the same one from day one of your life to the end. Why? Because people change. Needs change. Churches change. Sometimes, the direction you're taking for your life doesn't match up to the direction of the church. It may or may not be a bad thing, just as it may or may not be a good thing. I know it's crappy to say this, but it depends. It depends on where you believe God is leading you. If your personal direction matches up with the church's, well and good for you. Stay on. Support it. But if it doesn't, what are you supposed to do? Stay on and slowly become a backbencher? Lose your own path in life?

Sometimes, taking a step back can only provide better clarity. Like you know, finally being able to see the forest for the trees? Seeing the big picture?

The big picture is this: churches individually make up the larger body of the Church, the Bride of Christ, and each has their different strengths which suit different people in different stages of their life. Let's not get all worked up when one goes from one church to another. Because in the end, we're on the same side. We're fighting the same battle.

In-fighting isn't going to help anyone much. (Same goes to UMNO.)

Sunday, 13 April 2008

structure

I think maybe one of the things I'm really looking for is a church where I can actually fit into the structure, and not feel like one who is standing outside or above it. Not that I actually do, but sometimes it feels like it.
Maybe one of the things I'm really frustrated about is the fact that there is a structure... somewhat... but it doesn't seem to be working. There are cell groups, but no one really draws you in to one. There were discipleship groups, but after all the talk and discussion, no one actually invites you into one. There are committees and subcommittees to do different projects, but there is no support to carry them through.
Maybe what I'm looking for is really a mentor that can tell me, buck up, girl, we're moving on. Rather than wait for consensus.
Maybe, what I really want, is leadership.

Sunday, 6 April 2008

rethink?

Apparently Pin has stepped down from the Saturday Night service. Ps HC asked if I could worship lead at least once a month, but I told him no. He's under the impression that I'm [also?] on a break. I don't want to say anything until I write that letter to Ps CK, and until I really know what I want to do.
But I do know what I don't want to do. I don't want to get tied up in church again because of guilt. And that is what will be if I start feeling sympathetic and say okay.
Fergus said this:
so i ask myself - what do i need to be doing before i feel like i am christian enough? where should i be serving before i feel like i can hold my head up in church? am i confusing a relationship with jesus with a visible display of obedience? am i bastardising service when it's absence makes me feel like i'm not earning my keep in His kingdom? when i see other people serving, i feel terrible. i know it doesn't make them holier, but it makes them more involved. and involvement is good, right? the church says that, right?

there's barely a line between a church exhorting people to serve and a person feeling bad for not serving. i want to stop thinking that i need to go back to god, like i'm a heathen. my head knows i have god. the rest of me should just knock it off.
And I agree.
As I've said before, I feel that I'm tied to this church because of obligation and expectation, and I don't want it to continue that way. It's not a nice feeling to wake up and go to church because I'm expected to or I have to.
I would like to do something unexpected. And find that it isn't unexpected, or isn't not-what-i-should-do. I would like to wake up on Sunday mornings with the thought that it's okay to take my time and smell the morning and not be there on time. I would like to not feel guilty for not doing enough, or for not being good enough. I would like to feel that it's okay not to be good enough, or persistent enough or dedicated enough, or strong enough, or big enough or holy enough because no one thinks that I should be there already.

I like to remember the smile on my face when for once, for real, my cell leader asked me... are you baptised and do you speak in tongues?
I also like to remember the semi-smirk I had when my drama director, on "interviewing" me said... not every one is allowed on stage. Because that is what I believed and I was happy for it, because it really didn't matter to me if I was or not, I just wanted to be there.
It was also nice to turn up at prayer meetings because I wanted to and felt I should. Rather than to find excuses not to go because I know I should but I don't want to.

And yet I feel sad, because whilst it will be easy to leave, it's always hard to say goodbye.
Even if they don't know I'm saying it.

Friday, 28 March 2008

on the parents

It was rather a relief, I suppose that after talking it over with my parents, the only thing that they said (my dad in particular) was to take my time about it and do it step by step.
The other thing that gave a little bit of relief was the comment my dad made in passing, where apparently T.T. Quah said something about it being okay (?) for me to leave because it would be difficult for me to continue working with people who had worked with my father. Or something like that. Which is a little bit of what I feel too.
So...
"See how"

Monday, 24 March 2008

words

Maybe Jian hit the nail on the head when he said that I bother too much about what people say.
So could I just be ruthless and throw caution to the wind and say "You suck. Good bye."
Which really isn't what I would naturally say.
But since I'm being abnormal anyway. Sigh.

And yet words, in some way, have ceased to matter. What I say isn't going to make much of a difference unless I actually do something.

Need time to think.
If I would give myself that.

Sunday, 23 March 2008

where to?

So maybe by talking it over and over and over again, I will get more clarity on my own thoughts. I think. I don't know. Maybe by asking and talking and listening, I can define more clearly if this impulse was merely that - or something more.
I turned up in church this morning, and it didn't feel like Easter. It felt as if there was a bitterness in my soul. I don't know if I was upset because I felt I was being side-lined. I don't know if I was upset because... just because. Or maybe I'm just being stressed about Monday. So I was being grumpy. (Not an unusual feat or fact).
But song turned to tears, I don't know why, which is hard on me because I can usually shut out emotions and turn off the tap. Most times. And in the midst of it was this thought - that it was time to leave this church.
I don't know why. I don't know where to.
But I feel that it's time to move on.

But I'm afraid to. I don't know why. Maybe it's because when I finished with TARC in KL I was quite certain that I was to come back, and to come back to the church. I was quite sure that my place was to be in this church, with the Creative Arts. In the Worship Team.
Now I'm not so sure.
I don't know if it's because I'm being "overworked", if I am pushing myself too hard, or if I'm feeling guilty at the lack of results and/or lack of overall needful effort. I don't know if I'm being upset at the fact that I try, but it fails, or I try, but am told I am not needed. I don't know if I am taking offence at what that pastor said / implied last week. I don't know if in some ways I am still affected by my father's resignation, or if I am taking offence on his behalf, or if I feel in some ways overburdened by it. I don't know if this whole problem is because I feel that everyone is on their tippy-toes about me because of my father and the resignation, as if I am someone they need to guard and protect, and make sure I am not hurt (and yet they still inflict hurt). I also don't know if this is just some backlash to the realisation of the fact that I have never and probably will never fit in. That the ideas and interests and lifestyles of those around my age are dissimilar from mine and will probably never even touch in any sort of tangent.
I feel as if... people are expecting me to act a certain grown-up way and do certain things, while at the same time putting me down as a child, and taking away those opportunities offered earlier.
There are too many why's and if's in the consideration, and I think I will never be able to come to a single lucid explanation of my impulses and my fears, my desires and my hopes.

What I do know is this: I will probably never truly be able to be myself here. There are too many unspoken expectations that I have to deal with, both from myself and from the church. I feel that I have no room to grow, maybe because of the way I see myself in connection with the church, or maybe because... I don't know. I feel as if all the walls that I had taken down whilst in KL have been re-erected where they stand, maybe even further in.
What I don't know is this: if it will ever truly be different anywhere else because of the way I was made, because of the way I always react, and because of who I have gradually come to be.

There is the hope though, that just as CF & Metro Tab made me a different person than the one I am becoming, that maybe a change will reignite something that should be there.

Maybe church will somehow again become something more than a responsibility and a burden and an expectation and a guilt.

The question now is: where to, and when?

Sunday, 16 March 2008

rebellion

Maybe what one needs to realise about youth and the rebellion towards the church is that it's generally not about a rebellion towards God, but against the status quo. The very idea of "church-going" to make one a Christian doesn't make sense. Christ died - yes, for the church - but in that very strain of idea, I am the church. And yes, whilst we are not to forget the assembling of the saints, the non-attendance of one at church on occasion should not be the be-all-end-all of one's spiritual life.

Yes, I admit I skipped a church service. On the occasion that I was tired, and I have already been to a service the night before. The assembling of the saints does not state that one must go to every service available on a given weekend, or if the service should be one that one often (or regularly) goes to, or if it must be a full church service, or a youth one.

To dig deeper into the truth, since I am setting out to be truthful to you by admitting my faults, I did not go to church, not only because I was tired physically, but because, to put it plainly, I am tired of the church. Rather - I am tired of the stress of placing me in the church. There is the need to dress up (to give the idea of one putting on the best for God), the need to mask up (to seem more spiritually there, or more together than I really am) and the need to answer myriads of questions on how I am (I'm fine, how are you, how is work, work is shit, but I can't tell you that)!

I was doing back-up vocals in the youth service last night, and I think I shall not do it again. There is nothing wrong with the youth or the youth service whatever, except that it just doesn't work to put old fogeys up on stage as the "seniors" coming to serve the youth when we have no relevance to them at all. The songs chosen, some new, mostly old, were songs that had some impact in my "era" of the youth - a time 5 years (and more) in the distance, and by the look on most of their faces (most, because one or two of the older ones seemed to get it), they were more bored, standing in the front of the hall by rote to listen and try to sing along to unfamiliar songs, rather than by any youthful exuberance or desire to get up and praise God. I feel personally that if no one has the desire to stand up in the front and jump, there is no need to ask them to do it, half-heartedly as it were, or by habit, because then it would have no meaning. It degenerates merely into a music concert, a spectator show. And thinking all of this on the stage while singing, with or without my hands lifted, I can see the irony of it all.

The aura that exudes is often a fake one, the lifting of hands by instinct or habit, and the mind is engaged in analysing the worshipfullness or not of the church and/or the youth-going crowd. And wondering behind it all: what is this worth? What is the worth of this "worship" and good music, and bringing in bands and concerts and speakers, when at the end of it, there is no passion or no drive to really see the Kingdom of God? Maybe it's the dryness of my soul, or the hardness of my heart, but I see no point. There is no point pushing and striving when what is not there is not there. Give it up and try something different. If they don't want to sing, maybe that is not their reasonable worship! Give them other ways, and see where that brings the group as a whole. At least they are genuine in their "boredom", though it worries the adults so much. I would rather not touch the youth as a whole, because every time I do, a certain idea of disdain and judging comes into the picture, because I compare between the things we did and what they do now, and find it not at all satisfactory. And maybe it should be that way (that I should distance myself from this) because it is hardly healthy for me or for them to have someone telling them what they should and should not do, in such judgemental tones. Let them rather work with people who understand where they are at and work with them to bring them up to different standards than those I think I am used to!

And on the other more painful matter of my facade, let it be known clearly that I am, frankly, tired and depressed. I try to avoid the Vale of Tempe road for the sole reason that every time I pass a certain bend, I wonder, what if I just drove straight off instead of turning with the road? I do not play about with knives and scissors for the reason that it sometimes pops into mind, what if I started deliberately cutting?
And no, this is not cause for worry, because I am too sensible and rational to ever attempt such things. Besides, the very fact that I can state this clearly and openly should drive from your minds the idea that I would do it. The curse of the writer is that to write is bare all, and the writing down of such thoughts is cathartic and clears the mind and heart for better thoughts and feelings to enter - at the cost of making others worry unnecessarily, and by the very fact that they often respond negatively and worry at it like a dog worrying at a bone, this often compounds the problem by driving the idea back firmly into the writer's head!

And back to the church. The church! The church that is supposed to build each one up in love, but often passes judgement as to their skills and abilities. It shouldn't hurt, but it does, that a certain pastor should come up to me and ask if I would be unnecessarily stressed to lead worship on Easter Sunday, and if it would be better to ask another pastor to do the said job, or would it be alright for me? So she casts doubt on my ability, or my anointing (if I have such a thing), and since she has done that, I would rather save her the worry (and myself too) by letting the said other pastor take over. Need I grab on to the job as if to save face, and prove myself? But as I said, it still hurts, because you've shown your doubts about me, and being who I am, it does in some ways shatter my self-confidence, in the same way that it is shaken whenever I am requested to change my songs.

But what really matters in the end, is not whether I go to church or not, whether I am a good example or not, or whether I am on people's prayer list as a possible danger(!), but the fact that He loves me the same yesterday, today and tomorrow. What I do may make Him sad, or disappointed as it makes me sad and disgusted at myself, but there is always that constant love and hope, because of His unfailing love, and because even in the dark Saturday of my mind, tomorrow is Sunday, and He will rise,
is rising, has risen.

The church? The church as a whole needs a face lift. And maybe I really shouldn't stay where I am not wanted. But will it be different anywhere else?

Saturday, 8 March 2008

voter

I suppose now that I have voted, I might as well say something. I'm usually totally apolitical, because I don't really care. A government is a government, and the government is supposed to be there to protect the people, build the nation and generally make things happen.
A government, one way or another, is meant to keep the peace, uphold justice, make education work. When it comes down to political parties, to me, it's just who does a better job, and who does a sloppy one. I don't know how to put this right, but a government is meant to govern.

Basically, to make sure things work. So you can have a lousy government, or a good one. It's just whether things work better or worse. From my point of view, it's just supposed to BE there. I don't really care who is there, as long as the job gets done.

Now, what has really irked me about this campaign is the heavy-handed tactics the current ruling party seems to be using. I don't know what they're getting at, but the way their slogans run, from the banners to the radio adverts, the idea that gets across is this: vote for us, or else.
Is that meant to be a threat?
Or else what? Whose to say that the opposition can't do a good job as well? Who's to say that if the opposition wins, we won't have stability and peace of mind? (Unless of course, they are intending to "do something about it" which shows up their utter immaturity!)
Or maybe they just need better PR. Yeah. They really need better PR. Because they're coming across as old-fashioned, male chauvinistic, fanatical idiots.

On the other hand, all I'm hearing from the other side, is to deny them the two thirds. Deny them the two thirds. It doesn't matter who you vote for, as long as you deny them that two thirds.
Again, maybe I'm also just getting it wrong (because I'm not one to seek out the info, and go to the talks), but to the general uninterested public, they're not really putting up any good argument. All I seem to hear is this: they're doing a lousy job so just make sure they get kicked out.
What then? Who's the alternative? What options are you giving us? What if this snowballs so much that we totally swing around and put into power a bunch of people who have been working so hard to "get there" that they don't even know where they are? Are they really prepared for it?

Actually, the main thing that irks me about politics in general is the fact that everyone seems to come across as squabbling little children, out to get the best for themselves. Which is totally against the spirit of the whole thing, which is to get the best out of everyone, so that we can get the best for the nation, and indirectly, who knows, maybe get something good for ourselves too.

Efficiency. That's the word. It's just something we don't have.

But yeah, the spleen is spent, and like I said, I don't really care. I guess I shouldn't be that way, but I think this is just one of those things that I just don't get.

So we wait.

Sunday, 17 February 2008

flight

I was seriously considering going to Australia. Fly away, and join my siblings in Adelaide. I was serious about it. Life is good there. You work three clients a year (compared to my five in about two months), and don't have to work over time. You get a nice office space. You get people speaking to you in English, and not in some ching-chong-chiang. You get people dedicated to what they're doing, and in doing it right. So they say.

But somehow, it feels wrong.
It feels like I'm running away again.
Running from work that can never be finished. Running from my ministry, or from my failure thereof. Running from the boy I thought I could love, but who couldn't love me the way I needed. Running from the character that God's trying to build in me.
But that's all I'm good at - running away. Escapism in its finest form.

So it doesn't feel right to go.
Not now.

I hope I'm not wrong about this.

Saturday, 9 February 2008

thought:

Maybe it's time to stop looking for the man of your dreams, but to strive to become the woman of his dreams.
Except maybe if he's looking for a gourmet chef.

Thursday, 7 February 2008

"so as soon as he can cope with a situation, you move him to one he can't cope with. Doesn't he get any rest?"
---Ender's Game, Orson Scott Card.

Uhuh.

broken

And so is the only way to break this result-oriented mindset to make nothing ever work out?
Drive home the point that it isn't the results that matter. I believe you.
But sometimes I need to see that it's worth doing in the end.
The words aren't coming out the way I intended them, but then again they never do. I don't know why I'm so good with words, but only when it doesn't really matter.

I am afraid of failure - so you let me fail.
Just so you can tell me that it isn't such an issue, and all you want is who I am, that all I can do is nothing compared to all you can.
And it doesn't matter.
Only it still matters to me.
Because sometimes I feel that praying hard doesn't work when all I hoped for doesn't come through in the end.

So I need you to hold my hand.
Because I'm slipping where I should not fall.
And all I've expected of myself is shattered where I cannot find the pieces.
In the dark.

Not tried more than I can bear, but I can't find the exit for this one.
It's like a never-ending maze.
I can't find where you begin.
And every time I piece it together, it slips apart again.

Haven't found you.
Not yet.
Why?

I don't know what I'm doing wrong.

So drive home the point that results don't matter.
Because I'm feeling you, and somewhere, something's right.

Sunday, 6 January 2008

rambling dissertation

To step forward in faith, in love and in truth.
To take life by the reigns.
To do that which is necessary.

Of necessity.

Why?
Because there are so many things that I am willing to do, that willingness is not the issue.
The issue is whether I am capable of doing it.

The funny thing is, in lots of hero fiction, the idea is that if you volunteer rather than are volunteered it totally proves the fact that you are not right for the job of heroship. If it has popped up so many times does that mean there's some truth in it?

What I'm getting at, nonsequentially, is really this.
I know what needs to be done, and for what purpose.
I know mentally that I most probably can do it. With help.
I also know that I want to do it. It's my reasonable response.
But I also know in an emotional/spiritual sense that this is going to be very. very. hard.

On a side issue, I was reading one of those long discussions on "does God exist" (which miraculously always devolves into Christianity vs Atheism - I mean why not Islam vs Atheism then? Obviously only Christianity is the real threat) and my personal view on the matter is this:

If He didn't exist, this would be a non-issue.

The question wouldn't even have been raised. I mean, the only reason anyone really argues or defends themselves over any statement is really because they feel the need to prove themselves right. And usually one only needs to prove one's self right when there's something that tells you you're wrong.

But I am neither theologian nor apologist. So I shall not get involved.

And there is a classic example of distractionism. Or escapism.

So it comes back to the simple fact that
1) It is necessary.
2) It is yours.

as opposed to:
ibloodywelldon'twanttodoitbecausei'mnotpreparedandi'mnotaleaderandidon'twanttobealeaderanddoyouthinkthatifyoucouldpossiblygetaguy todoitandijustfollowalongandsortofassisthimbehindthescenesthatwillworkoutbetterandnotstressmeoutsomuchandnotmakemego...spare?

In a nutshell.

For: GOD SAYS YOU
Against: ME SAYS someone else... please?

And so yes, it's a question of willingness, but no, it is also not because I have already made up my mind and heart to do it.
It's just a question of making the flesh follow along.

And the people will come.

Because HE has said so.

If only I could hold on to that thought until they actually do show up.

It is necessary. And it is you.

*Sigh*

That settles it doesn't it?