integrity

That was the topic of the sermon at Calvary Church, Damansara Heights at the 5 pm English service just now. I thought it was quite interesting, something to think about at least. I’ve been trying to find a church that I’ll be comfortable in.

I haven’t been to church in a long time. It’s 18 years by my count, excepting the time I went to Wesley Methodist Church in Sibu last time I was back to visit my mom (and I thought it was election time too).

calvary church bukit damansara

I’m not used to loud and expressive praise and worship sessions – I was raised as a Christian, went to Trinity Methodist Church in Kuching and Wesley Methodist Church when I was in Sibu. They’re both UMC sister churches and we use the hymnal – usually droll but somehow peaceful hymns.

This is totally different. However, I think that the ability to unlearn and relearn new things is a prerequisite in this fast moving social media age and I found myself enjoying it by the second song (which I would really like to know the title of).

I’ve been procrastinating in going back to the church – I left the congregation when I was 12 coz I didn’t believe in it anymore. It’s more than just knowledge, it’s the hypocrisy and politiking that I see which made me lose faith in Christians.

I’m sure I’ve said this before but one thing my dad said that caused me to reevaluate is – Don’t look at the Christian, look to Christ.

…also I have my own personal reasons for going. You can call it the opiate of the masses but there are no atheists in foxholes too. ;)

eucharist
Nifty way to hold the Eucharist cup.

However, I’m still trying to believe. I think I’m moving towards that direction but I don’t think this church would be a good fit for me. I prefer to contemplate in a quiet setting and speak to my personal savior and this isn’t very conducive to doing so. It’s also an Assembly of God denomination which has doctrinal differences from Methodists, the biggest one being:

The Assemblies of God believes in the Pentecostal distinctive of baptism in the Holy Spirit with the evidence of speaking in tongues.

That goes against everything I believe in. I find that churches like these tend to coerce people to do so (speak in tongues) which leads to a lot of people faking it to make it. I was at a seminar a while back in Sabah where a Canadian group came to speak – they’re also Pentecostals and during a blessing session, everyone (about 300 people) fell down, “consumed by the holy spirit”.

I didn’t. There were people behind me waiting to hold me and one of the pastors whispered to me – “Just lie down”.

I don’t want to coz I didn’t feel the touch of the Lord. I was the only one standing in a group of 300 threshing and moaning people. The sheer pressure to join them is quite incredible and I believe that’s what most people were going – just succumbing to the pressure. I stood my ground though. It was hard, and I’ll be lying if I said I didn’t feel self-conscious but I don’t want to pretend to do feel something I don’t.

I won’t judge, Matthew 7:5 says the famous words about that but in matters of faith, I ALWAYS defer to my dad. He’s hands down the most pious person I ever met – a True Believer. I trust him in these matters.

calvary church damansara heights

Thus, I’ll probably be still searching for a church that fits the doctrine I believe in. I can’t say I’m a Christian right now, and I’m still trying to reconcile God with science, life and sociology – things I believe in like evolution, LGBT rights, massive allegations of fund mismanagement (hey, they’re human and humans sin).

I also want to make sure that I’m doing it for the right reasons and not using religion as a crutch to get me through some hard times.

I’m really opening my mind here after 18 years (it’s actually longer, I stopped believing but continued going) of being an agnostic atheist – I want to believe and I know it’s not your prerogative to show yourself to me God, but you know, it would help a lot, especially right now.

I’ll end this post with a prayer. ;)

God, grant me the Serenity to accept the things I cannot change,
Courage to change the things I can,
and Wisdom to know the difference.

Heh! It’s actually non-religious, it started from AA but I learned it in NA, it’s called the Serenity Prayer and AA/NA isn’t a Christian foundation – it accepts people from all faiths and religious discussion is prohibited.

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28 Responses to “Integrity in an enticing world”

  1. HB, speaking in tongue is a gift that we have to ask God to give to us and He will when we are ready. I don’t even know how to speak in tongue being a Christian for so long so don’t despair, nobody can force a gift. =) Hope you can see the light in a different way, just explore more. =) Tell me the lyrics and maybe I can help identify the song?

    • Well, my personal belief about speaking in tongues is that it has been widely misinterpreted but since I’ll go to Methodist, SIB and Baptist churches (not much difference in doctrine, but SIB also strongly encourages speaking in tongues) I don’t think it’s wrong.

      It’s just that Pentecostals put too much emphasis on it – it’s like you haven’t been baptized properly if you don’t know how to speak in tongues which is why a lot of people fake it. :x

      I don’t like that kind of environment.

      It’s a very upbeat rock song, probably Planetshakers or Hillsong – the chorus is very uplifting – it goes something like “The Word of God something something Come into my life Lord”.

      That’s a very vague paraphrase though, and the only bits I can remember, couldn’t Google it and am asking the pastor what the song is.

      Thanks Sherrie! :)

  2. Read The Diamond Cutter. Dude Ill even mail you copy if you email me your address :)

    • Thanks for the offer bro!

      I just downloaded the epub – haven’t started reading it yet but the synopsis is very intriguing, right up my alley. Tibetan Buddhism and application to rake it in. Heh.

      Cheer for the recommendation! :)

  3. Don’t blame Christianity for its idiots.

    Don’t blame Allah for its Muslim radical suicide bombers.

    • Yeah, you’re right and I don’t blame them – humans are prone to sin (in the first context) and for the second one, it’s circumstances and it’s not like the US has a very good diplomatic relationship with some Arab nations – at Obama’s watch, drone strikes increased drastically and can be quite indiscriminate. :x

  4. Hi, first timer here :)

    About the Serenity Prayer, it believes to be a prayer by the theologian Reinhold Niebuhr

    The original, attributed to Niebuhr, is:
    God, give us grace to accept with serenity
    the things that cannot be changed,
    Courage to change the things
    which should be changed,
    and the Wisdom to distinguish
    the one from the other.

    Living one day at a time,
    Enjoying one moment at a time,
    Accepting hardship as a pathway to peace,
    Taking, as Jesus did,
    This sinful world as it is,
    Not as I would have it,
    Trusting that You will make all things right,
    If I surrender to Your will,
    So that I may be reasonably happy in this life,
    And supremely happy with You forever in the next.
    Amen.

    So it might be Christian after all .. :)

    Just follow your heart, and may HE be your guide to lead to find where you can truly called your ‘Home’

    • Yup, I read up on the origins of it but officially, Alcoholics/Narcotics Anonymous do not allow religious talk (or cross talk for that matter). It’s referred to as “Your personal Higher Power”.

      I help out at NA meetings sometimes, but I don’t agree with their doctrine of total abstinence either.

      Thanks for dropping by and for the words of encouragement Pauline! :)

  5. you got a private mail…..

  6. Hey HB, I’m not going to go all theological here but what I can do is to keep you in my prayers when I’m in Mass this weekend.

    That literally happened to me during the Praise & Worship session. No matter how the lay minister wanted me to rest in the Spirit, I just wouldn’t budge – even though people around me were falling down in a snap of the fingers. But yeah, I know what you mean about the Pentecostals. I’ve watched a couple of programs on that back in NZ. My Church hasn’t forced me to fake the knowledge of speaking in tongues yet and I don’t think I will; it will look weird. One can’t force it when the right time to receive the gift from God hasn’t arrived yet.

    God welcomes His lost sheep with open arms no matter how long it takes, so don’t rush into a religion/denomination. Take your time; I’m sure He will be there to guide you along the way.

    • Hey thanks Ciana!

      I really appreciate that. :)

      Yeah, I totally get what you mean, Pentecostals create an atmosphere of incredible pressure – my sister was struggling with that when she was in university, there was a strong emphasis to speak in tongues which caused her to wonder. That’s also in NZ.

      I agree, gifts cannot be forced, if it happens, it happens, else it shouldn’t be a prerequisite after baptism.

      Thanks Ciana! I know that from the parable of the prodigal son – my interpretation of that is the prodigal son = Gentiles (us) while the older son is Jewish, thus his question. That’s also what a lot of bible commentary says too, and I have no problems with that issue.

      I’ll probably end up in a Methodist church but I’m open to new ideas. Cheers for that and God bless, Ciana! :D

  7. Hey HB, thumbs up for the honest post!

    There were many things I wanted to write here. But the one thing that I wanted to say the most is God’s looking out for you. In this new season, I trust that you’ll find whatever it is that you’re searching and waiting for, because “To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven”.

    God bless you HB, and do keep on writing :)

    • Hey there Mich!

      Thanks for the inspiring Bible verse!

      I’ve heard that a lot – that God’s looking out for me and I do believe it in a sense, I just need to reconnect more.

      God bless mate, I’ll keep on writing! Cheers! :)

  8. The second song was Solid Rock by New Life Worship.. One of my fav :) it reminds n encourages me..

    • Yeah, I just got the song title from Calvary’s Twitter account too.

      I’m listening to it now, it moved me during the service and it’s an awesome song. :)

      Thanks for letting me know! :D

  9. Yes, the Serenity Prayer – that’s my principle in life. Religion, Christianity…well, I believe that to look for God, we just have to look within us. He lives in us and everything we do should reflect that. No use praying, singing and praising but living our lives like any other man on the street who may not have a religion and in fact, many are better persons than the self-professed Christians.

    • Very wise words indeed Arthur! :)

      I totally agree, God is a personal thing, and I believe in introspection, reading the Scriptures and applying them the best you can to your daily life.

      I’m already doing that, although I’m just starting slowly.

      Yup, there’s a lot of people of other religions or who’re agnostic who’re much better people than some Christians I’ve seen. The religion does not make the man, what he does makes the man. :)

  10. wow but it sounds rather religious and not suitable for me who isnt a christian ><

    • Well, religion is a very personal thing. You can be any religion or none and if you’re a good person, that’ll make you better than most hypocrites out there. :)

      Yup, I was delving into stuff that stresses a bit on the doctrinal differences between denominations – it would probably sound like nit-picking to non-Christians but these are really quite large issues when it comes down to it – wars have been fought for less.

  11. Hey HB you always have come across as an intellegent rational person, so it is a worry that you are considering bending the knee to an invisible totalitarian dictator.

    The concept of faith is the enemy of the one unique thing humans possess – Reason.

    If you are looking for an ethical system without the loony 2000 year old mythology, have a read about Humanism:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Humanism

    • Hey there Haggas!

      Well, for me it’s a personal thing, and I’m still wondering if I’m doing it for the wrong reasons and I’m struggling a bit with my faith now – something to believe in mid life crisis sorta thing.

      I do want to believe though, but my perception of God is not one of a dictator e.g. the Old Testament Yahweh but rather an equal spiritual guide like Jesus of the New Testament. A friend instead of a dictator, so to speak. :)

      Interesting stuff about humanism, have read through it, cheers mate! :)

  12. I can relate to a lot of what you raised on your post. Was in KL 2 weeks ago too . Keep up the good work on the blog, long time reader.

    • Thanks Vic! :)

      Appreciate you taking the time to read this, cheers for that. Buzz me next time you’re in KL. Cheers!

  13. HB, I had the same experience at a praise n worship session at an FGA event – people falling like logs n a lot of emo in the air – but i stood firm and looked around in amazement. Needess to say, my 3 children were frightened out of thir wits :-) But the session helped to calm down my husband’s troubled spirits that night. We never attended another session again but i guess it was effective for my husband.
    Find your inner peace, HB. Yyour father is a good, decent man and he has probably lifted you up in prayer throughout your life – during all the good and bad times. All the best in your spiritual quest!

    • Yeah, there’s a lot of these going around. My experience was bad coz I didn’t like they way they conducted it, actually TELLING people to be consumed by the Holy Spirit and fall down. :x

      Hey, if it works for your husband, it’s all good. I mean, SIB (Sidang Injil Borneo) is a very charismatic church too, it works for some people, I don’t mind it as much, their doctrine is very sound.

      Thanks Kate, yeah, I figured my dad has prayed for me and my entire family a lot.

      God bless and all the best to your and your family too! :)

  14. PS – want to share with you this quote from Oscar Wilde – the only difference between a saint and a sinner is that every saint has a past and every sinner has a future! :-)

    • Heh! I’ve heard of a quote that probably was inspired by this – women love men with a future, men love women with a past. ;)

      I rather like another quote – “Don’t judge me coz I sin differently than you” by Dieter Uchtdorf. :)

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