Monday, December 12, 2005

Merely Pew-Fillers

I happened to be watching the inauguration of Dr John Sentamu as the 97th Archbishop of York, and was quite struck by the incisiveness of his inaugural sermon. Here’s a snippet:

The late Canon David Watson, … said twenty-four years ago, “Christians in the West, have largely neglected what it means to be a disciple of Christ. The vast majority of Western Christians are church-members, pew-fillers, hymn-singers, sermon-tasters, Bible-readers, even born-again believers or Spirit-filled Charismatics – but aren’t true disciples of Jesus Christ.

If we were willing to learn the meaning of real discipleship and actually to become disciples, the Church in the West would be transformed, and the resultant impact on society would be staggering.

He further went on to say

The scandal of the church is that the Christ-event is no longer life-changing, it has become life-enhancing. We’ve lost the joy and power that makes real disciples, and we’ve become consumers of religion and not disciples of Jesus Christ.

And it’s interesting what he had to say about how Christians should interact with other faiths:

Christians, go and find friends among Buddhists, Hindus, Jews, Muslims, Sikhs, agnostics, atheists - not for the purpose of converting them to your beliefs, but for friendship, understanding, listening, hearing.

And here's a small clip from his speech:


xSHANTIx said...

vaheguru Ji Ka Khalsa Vaheguru Ji Ki Fateh.

Coming from a Christian background it really saddens me that the faith that i was born into was not able to fulfil the longing in my soul to connect to God.

Christianity, is no longer a real religion...its a rare occassion you even hear sumone who say they are proudly Christian. Its more of a thing people consider when a birth, marriage or death arises. And most importantly deciding on a school for your child, it always seems the Catholics are sent to the Catholic Schools and the Protestants have to go to the Non denominational Schools, although there are few exceptions now occuring.

Its my personal opinion that Christianity has too many sects and that the followers are getting so many mixed messages. Also with the politics in the west not treating their own with the democracy and respect the western civillians deserve, people are left hungry for that knowledge and thirsty for the words of encouragement and love that they often find in other more orthodox eastern religions, such as Buddhism, Islam, Hinduism and Sikhism. It helps the western society again become a disciple of God on a holy path and not just a stereotyped "westerner" The Christian faith has so many sects and branches that they forget Jesus Christ and care more about what football team matches which religion, what songs shall they sing at church and what to wear to church! Half of the Christians you meet dont even know any quotes from the bible or even any prayers without the need of reading a book.

It is so sad. Christianity in its pure form, is a respectable religion and a good way of life that promotes morals and equality. A lot can be learned from it if only it was taught in the correct way....but is it too late for the Christian Church to save its followers? Who knows, perhaps this is the Divine Hukam of God?

Sorry i didnt mean for this to be an essay. SAT NAM.

Gurinder said...

I agree with shanti’s comment. I don’t like to keep on embarking what I did in the past, but when I was taught bible for three years I did not find any spirituality in it. Even our professors agreed with us on this issue, because it was written by other people and according to the history of Roman Empire and Greeks. What you find is visions and history. I know people are not going to agree with me, but I went through this experience for 3yrs.

I had a flight from LA to Kansas City, which is approx 3 hr nonstop flight. In the plane next me was seated very educated and elegant lady. We just randomly started a conversation and somehow conversation started on God. I said that there is only one God. And she agreed for a moment but then she said Jesus is only God and she asked me do I believe in Jesus. I told her that I respect her views but I think Jesus was a messenger of God but not God. But I explained that no matter what religions we belong to we are worshipping the same God.
She started to speak on top of lungs and said, you have offended me!!!, I do not worship your God, my God is only Jesus and when we die all the people that serve their lord(Jesus) will be protected and others will be burned in hell. Then she took her bible out and started to show me a verse where it depicts God is full of anger and Vengeance.

I told her over and over with very calm way that I respect her views and its great that she believes that Jesus is God and I have nothing against it. But she went on and on how God is going to Judge us on the final day.

Since she began to speak very loud other people were disturbed by our conversation and I wanted it to end because I was the only Brown person in the plane. she stopped when the pilot made an announcement that we are 20 minutes away from the Kansas airport.

I would not mention her name, but she is one of the WELL-known artists in Los angles and her single painting sells for $6000.00. She got exhausted after two and half hours trying to convince me that If do not serve the Lord then no matter what religion you belong to that person will end up in HELL.

She showed me sample of her paintings which is carries in her carry –on and she gave me her business card after she found out who I was. Also tried to sell!

Anonymous said...

I have similar story to share about my conversations about religion or God with other people. One of my roommate used to tell me that I should be Christian because I will go to hell. My answer was hell and heaven exist on this earth. Above all, I can't believe in god just because I want to get into heaven. How selfish is that!!!

Gurinder said...

I would like to share little bit more…

During my undergrad, It was openly lectured that people who do not believe in Jesus (as God) will be judged on the final day and they will end up in Hell and they call non- Christians as Pagans. We are considered as worshippers of Satan.

However, I had a friend back during undergrad. He was very intelligent person. I think Guruji blessed him and I was astonished by his accomplishments in academics and in spirituality. He was one or two semester ahead of me. I will not name him because I do not have permission from him to post his name, but I think he would be a great leader in Sikhism, but he is not interested in that task.

According to my friend:
My friend was only brown color person in the entire class! So, one day the professor started by lecturing that people who do not believe in Jesus are going to be burned in Hell according to the bible and these people worship Satan and they are under his spell. Then he said that Jesus would come back to this earth and raise all the dead from the graves and take them to Heaven with him!

My friend raised his hand up and said Professor I have a question. Friend said, If you believe in Jesus that he is God and when people die where do they end up?
Professor said, well they end up in heaven and pagans end up in hell as I have mentioned during my lecture and it seems that your were not paying attention in the class MR!

Friend said, But if people believe in Jesus (as God) and when they die, the believers are going to end up in the heaven then why Jesus needs to come back to the earth to raise the dead from their graves to take them to the heaven? Sir, I am Confused!

The entire class moved around and wanted to see who this person is arguing with the professor and my friend told me at that moment he did not feel comfortable but kept his stance strong.

However, making the long story short, Professor got puzzled and he said it is written in Bible that Jesus ji is going to come and raise the dead people out of graves and you are questioning me who has been studying bible and 40 other text books referenced to bible for more than 30yrs. I have done my thesis on this subject and so on and on!

Friend said, Sir that is great, but it does not make any sense that on one hand people who believe in Jesus as God will end up in heaven and then latter Jesus will come back to earth to raise them from their graves but they are already in heaven??????

Now the professor’s face turned red and he got very annoyed by his question.

Friend said, sir I do respect Jesus but who ever wrote that in bible does not make any sense.

Now, the entire class turned around towards him with puzzled minds.

Friend raised his hand and said, Sir mayI explain to you the meaning of it but I have to use SGGS in order to explain what is going on?

Professor had this weird look on his face and then he said sure!

Friend said, according to SGGS (Guru Nanak) people who believe in one God and serve humanity with their true hearts no matter who they are. Actually, this is the true service. People do who do good deeds and worship one God which is in everyone shall see the heavens doors. However people on earth who are deviated from the true path are considered as DEAD. Because they have failed to recognize the almighty God in every soul and yet that supreme power is separate from everyone. So, those people are considered Dead and when Jesus shall come to earth he will guide those souls towards God and then these souls by good deeds and hard work will also end up in the heaven.

My friend told me that the entire class stood up and began applauding and said that makes more sense. But the professor got very upset and left the lecture hall.

After couple weeks we had our Midterm exams. The following week of the exams I was studying in the library and my friend approached me and said you are not going to believe what I got on my religion midterm exam.

I said, you got “A”. Friend replied said, no he gave me C- and he showed me his exam everything he wrote was right, but the professor almost failed him in that exam.

My friend said, I could take this exam to show it to the dean and this professor would be in great trouble. But I will wait few more weeks to see if changes his decision.

After couple of weeks before the lecture ended the professor announces his name in the class and said I would like to meet you in my office.

At that point my friend said Oh no more trouble is in the way!

When my friend went to his office, the professor told him to shut the door behind him. Professor was silent for few minutes and my friend said that he was not feeling comfortable at that moment.

Then after few minutes the professor broke the silence and said “Mr X, over the weekend I went to the library of university of Alberta and searched and searched any textbooks on Guru Nanak or on SGGS I could not find anything. Could you please tell me where I could get these textbooks?

Professor said, I apologize about the exam I admit that I have given you the failing grade but I have changed that grade to an “ A” and said I can’t believe how narrow minded I have become after acquiring this education. Now I would like to learn something about Sikhism. I think that it sounds like a very new valid concept!

When my friend told me this story I hugged him so tight and said Thank you GURUJI for giving us the Wisdom!!!! And tears began trickling over our cheeks. That day I felt the presence of Guruji

Gurinder said...

I won't be able to respond to postings until feb 06.

Happy holidays
happy x-mas
Happy new year

msingh said...

gurinder singh ji I hope you have a wonderful break / holiday / ----*. Seasons greeting to all the family, and may Waheguru keep you in chardhi kala.

I also wish to acknowledge your excellent contribution to the discussions going on in the world of sikh bloggers - always an interesting and thought-provoking read.

And don't forget, if we dont see you back by the 6th, then we'll track you down (ik singh has 'connections')....

* fill in as appropriate

Anonymous said...

Bhai Manjot Singh ji,
At the end of your every post the speling of "Waheguru" have been incorrect. Please correct it and do not use it as the blogger sign. Keep it in your heart and feel it...


msingh said...

Thank you for your comment anon, you are incorrect in assuming I'm Manjot Singh. It's good of you to point out the error in the spelling of Waheguru - I think I must have got confused when I found two spellings in Gurbani as follows:

ਸੇਵਕ ਕੈ ਭਰਪੂਰ ਜੁਗੁ ਜੁਗੁ ਵਾਹਗੁਰੂ ਤੇਰਾ ਸਭੁ ਸਦਕਾ ॥
Your servants are totally fulfilled, throughout the ages; O Waahay Guru, it is all You, forever.
SGGS Panna 1403

ਵਾਹਿਗੁਰੂ ਵਾਹਿਗੁਰੂ ਵਾਹਿਗੁਰੂ ਵਾਹਿ ਜੀਉ ॥
Waahay Guru, Waahay Guru, Waahay Guru, Waahay Jee-o.
SGGS Panna 1402

Further illumination on the subject by you would be most welcome.