Sunday, August 09, 2015

Hypocrites Central | Manna for your Soul

Today, as I walk out of a popular church at Hebbal (Bangalore), I see hordes of fervent and holy Christians pile onto the highway. Each of them desperately trying to get the hell out of there, most of them cutting into lanes of oncoming traffic neither wanting nor waiting for a turn to converge. A short distance away, many of the cars are caught by the cops for speeding. Chances are - they will all bribe their way out of this minor inconvenience. 

Christians have a holier-than-thou attitude about people around them. We have the loveliest churches, the most heavenly choir voices, the most delicious cakes, the most delirious wines and the most bigoted notions about spirituality. In theory, we hate all sins, but we will still break the law without a second thought. We are not programmed to practice anything we believe in. 

Christianity has become fashionable. Celebrities and common folk love to wear the crucifix without knowing the enormous sacrifice it signifies. 

See, this is what bothers me - Hypocrisy. 
Attending the Sunday mass will not magically pull the dirt out of your heart. 
Reciting and repeating the prayer that your pastor tells you will not absolve you of your sins. 
Taking the holy communion will not make you sin-proof, if you are going to repeat the same sins tomorrow.
Singing praises and clapping hands in rhythm will not lull God into a sleep so that your life is charmed. 
He does not need any part of your worldly money. He has riches you and I cannot even begin to wrap our heads around, so if you think you are getting a 'get out of jail free' card by dropping a Rs 1000 note into the offertory bag, you might as well quit now.

Popular fiction and movies have made the phrase - 'Show the other cheek' - very famous. While most Christians take this literally, what God wants us to do is - when someone has wronged you, don't harbor hatred and become vengeful. Be kind. Forgive. Because He forgave us first. Fully.

So what does He want?
  • He wants that we (whether you are a Christian or not) to live a life that is as blameless as can be. 
  • Be humble. Don't swear and plot to teach a lesson against that driver that cuts into your lane. 
  • He wants you to respect your earthly masters - at work and elsewhere. 
  • He wants you to obey the law of the land. Don't speed. Don't cut lanes. Don't bribe/sweet-talk your way out of a traffic ticket. 
  • Say sorry even when it isn't your mistake because Christ loved you first. Unconditionally. 
  • Be faithful and honest to that surly boss at work, because the Bible says so, several times. 
  • Give generously. Not to wealthy churches and millionaire preachers. Give of your money, time and talents to those who can't give anything back to you.
  • Do good, not because you expect good to happen to you, but because you sincerely want to. I see fellow Christians who sit through the sermon and then come out and talk badly about someone else, and with frowns on their faces. 40 seconds before the offertory bag reaches them, they've already calculated how much they want to give. 
Every Sunday morning, we sit/stand through 30 minutes of joyous singing and 45 minutes of sermons almost dying to get out. We may be physically present at the church, but our minds are wandering like little children left alone in a park of swings. We are taking a mental poll of who's there, and what they are wearing. We are making the grocery list in our minds, calculating and recalculating the expenses for the week ahead and thinking about our careers, love-life (if you are single), our cars (hoping no one scratches/dents it), our fuel mileage and expenses, our mortgages, our loans, our salaries, our wardrobes, our makeup, our wish-lists, our travel plans, our holidays, our bosses, our colleagues and the list of things is endless. Our mind meanders through everything else occasionally 'checking-in' to the sermon to nod our heads so that we appear to be holy, and then stepping back out to everything else that is more important. A quick glance at the clock and you realize your mind has been on cruise control for the last 40 minutes. 'Just 5 more minutes', we think. 'Oh, after this I want to go to that biriyani place..' (mentally drooling). 
'All rise for Closing prayer and Benediction' and we are relieved we finished yet another drab ritual and can't wait to get along with our lives.

Christianity needs an overhaul. We need to step back and take a long and deep look at how we've lost the plot. 
Fortunately, the Bible has all the answers for this. 
The only question is - Are we ready yet?!

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