Feeling ‘institutionalized’

I am having a heartburn with too much onions, ginger, milk, gulai dhal and roti canai at 12.30 am. Serves me right for eating roti bawang with susu halia at that hour.

So, in order to get the stuffs disgested, I am going to sit here and write. Long, long post ahead. Go away if you have short attention span.

Today is 9-11. I remember 9-11 or September 11th 2001. I was about seven months pregnant. It was a school holiday. The two planes crashed into the WTC and life wasn’t quite the same anymore.

I changed religion. Not because of 9-11 but maybe, of God’s summon. God said, “Come, follow Me.” Lots of things happened after 9-11. I had a premature birth, my baby had a long struggle, he died, I embrace Christianity.

Or something like that. Because, I was otherwise a very anti-Christian, very anti-establishment, very anti-law and order person.

So, today sort of reminded me that I have believed in Jesus Christ for like seven years. They say there is such a thing as seven years itch. And lately, I was a bit sesat and confused. Well, I did not sesat into any religion. I am still a very good pal of Jesus Christ.

But I felt so suffocated and so constipated. What more, I was exposed to the Protestant church and their great organizing skills. Sorry, my Christian brothers and sisters, I don’t mean to separate the Catholics from the Protestants. This is just my own reflections. This is the first time I have a closer look at how ‘they’ worship compared to how I worship.

We are like worlds apart. The Protestants seem so spontaneous, so vibrant and so ‘can-do’. We are like, “let’s see what the priest say, let’s see if our BEC is ok with this and le’ts see if this is our ministry’s job or not’.

Sometimes, I feel like I am in a stifling government institution. Everything also got hierarchy. I am not a hierarchy person. I live by my own rules and I trust no one but the leader. However, there seem to be so many steps, so many sections, I got a bit sesat with exactly why I am being part of this ‘institution’.

Don’t get me wrong. I love being a Christian. I don’t mind being a Catholic. I love Jesus Christ. I will do anything for God’s kingdom. I will even lay my life down for Him.

Then, one weekend I got sick, another weekend, I went to Hatyai, then, another weekend I went to Cameron. Do you know that we Catholics are supposed to go for confession (and admit how sinful we are) if we skipped mass? Well, that’s what some visiting priest insisted we must do.

Then, another visiting priest drummed into my already about to explode head that I mustn’t skip mass and if the only available mass is in Tamil, I also must attempt to go. Just to be in communion with God.

That’s when the rebellious kid mode jumped into me. Not satan lah, just some rebellious streak only.

I was asking myself, “Hey, how did the act of receiving communion enriched and strengthen my life if I don’t do anything about my life?” I am still a good Christian, doing things for God and surely God loves me still? Just because I was not feeling very perky to dress up and put on my Sunday best to be seen as a good Christian, God gets angry? Nah….not the God that I know.

Then, I test waters further. I decided not to attend mass when I was in Cameron eventhough I had asked for the time and location of the chapel. Hey, why force my poor hubby to drive me there on a beautiful Sunday morning, while on holiday?

So, I didn’t go. And I thought the conscience will gnaw into me. Oooh…Lilian, you are so bad. You are so evil. You are so sinful. You purposely skipped mass. You didn’t give God your time. You are bad, bad, bad…….

But I didn’t feel that. Not guilty at all. That’s when I felt guilty. Of not feeling guilty. Oh, oh, sesat already.

Time for some chat with my ‘shrink’. I told him I am not sure why but I suddenly feel so distance. I feel disillusioned. I feel disappointed. With some people. I feel everyone is so superficial. Everyone has their own agendas.

And I thought I am going to get a long lecture about my sins. But I was told otherwise.

Hallelujah! Today, I learned that I am much closer to God than ever. Because I am no longer being put into the religion out of fear but rather out of love. I know that I will survive even if I am stripped off a church because God is there, regardless. You can put me into a deep, Amazon jungle with only snakes, minus priests and churches and I am still a Christian.

I know that even without the assurance of that piece of wafer, a symbol of Christ’s body and blood, He is still very much part of me. Of course, I am not advocating people to skip church. Church is more a community and not an institution. And no, you cannot skip masses and use me as an example.

So, yeah, no big deal. I am reformed. Reformasi! Reformasi! Hehehehehe..

And seriously…it is a pain that some people still prefer to compare religions in my faith blog. Doh….why lah waste so much time to pour through all the Bible and Quran verses just to see who is right and who is wrong. Can’t your faith tells you to just shut up, trust God and be happy with whatever way you worship god or God?

4 thoughts on “Feeling ‘institutionalized’

  1. Lilian: Great post.. very true.. Love what you are doing and not do it just because you are forced too.. religion is not something that can be forced upon anyone.. it must come out of love.. Because at the end of the day GOD = LOVE

  2. Attending mass in the chapel in Camerons is a nice experience… you’re on holiday… it’s early… it’s COLD… you’re almost sure to be noticed because the community there is small they’re bound to know you’re a visitor :o)

  3. Lilian, I’ve learned that being a Christian is not all about attending Church. Being a Christian is having a relationship with God. Knowing who God is in our lives and doing His will. Attending Church is important cos there where we learnt and feed on spiritual food and also fellowship with the body of Christ.

    Thank you and God Bless.

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