February 03, 2011

Rock On

I was a strong willed child. Seriously, I think my parents read James Dobson's book on strong willed children about 29 times. They needed all the help they could get.

And then they had four more children.

That means they either thought it could only get better or that I had put them through so much training, they could handle anything.

I was stubborn and opinionated and loved nothing more than a good argument. Throw in a dramatic running away from home once or twice and you get the idea of life with me in my early teens.

Many, many, many years have passed and I can still be stubborn and sometimes opinionated, but I don't have a burning desire to argue as much. Except with Scot, but he refuses to play along so no arguing for me.

What I have learned is that if I take the time to listen, it is amazing how often my point of view can be altered. Maybe not completely changed, but definitely altered.

In the past 7 months, my point of view has undergone some major alterations. I don't mean a little nip or tuck here and there, I mean rocking my world kind of stuff.

It started in Israel. The land where so much Biblical history resides. I walked Roman roads and touched the ground of the crucifixion - all reminders of men who gave their lives for their beliefs. I was having this experience while all around me there was evidence of two major non-Protestant people groups at war with one another. Orthodox Jews observing Shabat while prayers were played over loud speakers as Muslims bowed to pray. Both equally determined to fight for their beliefs, both equally fervent in their faith.


Then we land in Singapore. 10% of the population is Protestant. We are most certainly not in the Bible belt anymore. In this tiny country there are Muslims, Buddhists, Taoists, and Hindis just to name a few. We have been exposed to a lot of religious observances we had never heard of before.

I had the chance to visit a mosque during Ramadan.

It was fascinating. I was amazed at the ritual of cleansing these men would go through before going inside to pray and the fact that if they messed up during that ritual, they would start all over. The discipline it takes to get on their knees and pray 5 times a day.

I sat down with a monk when we were in Thailand. I had a chance to ask him a lot of questions. Our guide for this day had also been a monk and then went on to study Christianity. I was completely fascinated with this guy. I was intrigued with the Buddhist idea of trying to reach a level of enlightenment that was above heaven. Their willingness to go so far as to alter their outward appearance as a display of their faith.

Then there was Thaipusam which is a Hindu religious celebration. I did not go, but my friends, Tiffany and Lisa went and observed. There is a lot of incense and praying and some extreme acts of piercing as a way to show their devotion to their gods. I stole these pictures from Tiffany and have no idea how to make them the same size as the others on here, so you're going to get a really good look at what goes on.



Do I know all there is to know about all these different religions? Absolutely not. In fact, my knowledge barely scratches the surface.

What I do know is that these other religions are not based on extraordinary love. They are based on fear, on good works, on an attempt to please a golden statue, on ritual but not one of them is based on belief in a Savior who made an extraordinary sacrifice with an extraordinary outcome through resurrection as a show of extraordinary love. A Savior that extends that love to us in exchange for our belief in Him.

What has rocked my world is realizing how flippant Christians can be about their beliefs. That there are religions that are totally devoted to extreme discipline or an extreme change in their appearance or an extreme stand in the face of adversity for a faith that has to leave them empty.

And what do I do? What part of my life is an extreme for what I believe? Can people watch how I spend my day and know what I believe? Can they talk to me or even look at me and know?

I have to think that He meant it to be so much more than an altar experience. That He offered amazing grace and amazing love so that our every single moment of every single day reflects who we are in Him.

That He wanted the sacrifice of His Son to mean more to us than warming a pew here or there.

That He wants to hear from us more often than in our times of extreme need.

I wonder if there will ever be a sign for "Christian praying". Is the assumption that we pray anywhere or is the assumption that we don't pray regularly at all?

In my previous life back in the great state of Texas I operated in a state of ignorance when it came to world religions. Now I live with them. It has changed me and challenged me in a way I never expected. It is truly rocking my world.

All I can say......Rock On.

7 comments:

  1. What a great post Keri! Great observations and it is so cool that you are getting to see all of this! If is wise to use these as lessons of introspection.... Love it!

    ReplyDelete
  2. Oh my goodness, Keri. There are a million reasons why I love you, and this post is one of them. THANK YOU.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Hi there, I found your blog through Marla Taviano. I'm from Texas too but now live in the UK (Wales)- Your last sentence is exactly what I would say too!

    ReplyDelete
  4. Dang, I had a whole comment written out then lost contact for a second now it's gone. So this comment may be shorter than the intended cause I can't remember everything I just wrote! Ahhhhhh!!!

    Anyway, I think it's facinating how you are exposed to so many different religions. And oh how thankful I am that I serve a God who doesn't base my salvation on my good deeds or the way I present myself because I know I blow it on a daily basis! I love how by being surrounded by different cultures, can make us root deeper in our own and what we KNOW to be true. I can tell from this post that this "rocking of your world" has also brought you to a deeper place...much like breast cancer brought me to mine...or His, I should say. Hmmmm, who would've ever thought that a move to Singapore and Stage 3 breast cancer would be synonymous?! But it all works for our good and God's glory doesn't it, sister? <--- This I have learned first and foremost;-)

    And the whole "praying" signs really got me thinking too... My first thought upon reading it was, "Well, it's just because we can pray freely! Anytime, anywhere, we don't have to be in a certain position or place, or even be CLEAN!" But after reading "the assumption that we don't pray regularly at all," I was struck with a little pause. I hope that our belief system doesn't lend itself to less praying and such just because God doesn't REQUIRE it. I'm hoping that we are just praying MORE because we can, and it's not that God is trying to make things convenient for us, but rather that He loves us so deeply and so wholly that He wants constant contact and conversation with us, His children. But it is so interesting to see that on a sign, it really made me think...maybe a little too much for a Friday! Try heavy thinking posts on Mondays and fizzle out to just pictures by Fridays;-) LOL You know I'm kidding you...it's only 'cause I love ya!


    You know, if I didn't know any better, I'd swear that we were separated at birth. Oldest of 4 children here, extremely stubborn and independent. Oh wait, you said "strong willed"...yes that sounds much better;-) I, too, made an attempt at running away from home, confident that I would make it much further that I did, which was the front yard. But I was never busted, so the fact that know one knew (well, now but YOU) means that it wasn't technically a failed mission, right?

    I hope you are doing well. We have our first Upward games tomorrow! My little cheerleaders are soooo excited! Umm, yeah, this big cheerleader is too;-) xoxo

    ReplyDelete
  5. Love the message. You are an amazing story teller. Love you tons.
    MOM

    ReplyDelete

 

Site design by Fabulous K Creative