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the simple life

"One ought, every day at least, to hear a little song, read a good poem, see a fine picture, and if it were possible, to speak a few reasonable words." Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

Tuesday, February 22, 2005

Baptism: Tuesday

You'll need to fill in a form when you apply for baptism. There's a section where they require you to desribe how you became a Christian.

Here's my story (longer version):

My parents were Buddhists. My dad was not very religious but my mom was. Her branch of Buddhism wasn't very ritualistic and superstitious, the way many Singaporeans practise it. She understood the fundamentals of Buddhism and practise it as a way of life. I grew up influenced by that. Looking back, my childhood memories are dominated by images of chanting, visiting temples, vegetarian food and religious stories. I spent so much time at the Singapore Buddhist Lodge that I finished reading all the children's books at the library. My mom was very proud and happy that I could chant and read scriptures when I was very young.

When I was a teenager, I was very proud of Buddhism's philosophical leanings, especially after attending Buddhist classes in school. It all make sense to me then. We live in a cause and effect world. We do something wrong, we pay for it. There is no free lunch. You don't have to pander or submit to a fearful and all-powerful Creator. It's about doing the right things, applying rules to your life and making sure you follow the Middle Path.

And meditation was damm cool.

And for some reason, I wasn't very impressed with Christianity. Always thought that Christians were wimpy. I even told my Malay friends that I would rather convert to Islam than become a Christian.

But one day I became a wimp myself.

I walked into a bookstore and saw a New International Version of the Bible. I was curious so I bought it.

Over the following months, I would read it often. Much of the Old Testament, I treated as good story-telling. Proverbs was good wisdom. The New Testament, I had much skepticism but the teachings of Jesus was great.

My absolute favourite was Psalms. It was incredibly uplifting.

" The LORD is my rock, my fortress and my deliverer;
my God is my rock, in whom I take refuge.
He is my shield and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold. " 18:2

" The LORD is my light and my salvation-
whom shall I fear?
The LORD is the stronghold of my life-
of whom shall I be afraid? " 27:1

" Surely goodness and love will follow me
all the days of my life,
and I will dwell in the house of the LORD
forever. " 23:6

" Lift up your heads, O you gates;
lift them up, you ancient doors,
that the King of glory may come in. " 24:9

" Praise the LORD , O my soul;
all my inmost being, praise his holy name.
Praise the LORD , O my soul,
and forget not all his benefits-
who forgives all your sins
and heals all your diseases,
who redeems your life from the pit
and crowns you with love and compassion,
who satisfies your desires with good things
so that your youth is renewed like the eagle's. " 101:1-5

I remembered spending many wonderful nights reading the Psalms. It was very different from what I have been exposed to. You don't have the same equivalent of salvation, God and sin, among other things.

One night, I heard the Gospel message at a Christmas play. I didn't come forward during the invitation. But I went home and I prayed to invite God into my life.

Thats it.

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