Sunday, October 11, 2009

No more talk!

So, only one week of training left... it is all I can do to keep my thoughts here in Chicago. I seem to be constantly thinking ahead. I'm ready to jump into fundraising (or plunge in face first seems like a more apt description) in order to get to Uganda. We have spent the past few weeks praying and talking about it... time for the talk to be done!
I like looking at my to do list and see so many things checked off but I also seem to be adding to it daily. A newsletter to write, prayer cards to format then print, presentations to put together... Please keep praying for Beckie and I as we leave from here and start preparing on a whole new level! The next 100 days are going to fly by.

Monday, October 5, 2009

Ride for Refugees

The sun came out, there were lots of people, fun was had, overall a great day!

"The tears of a stranger are only water"

Class the other day was on Hinduism. Here is a brief glance at my notes and a briefer glance at my thoughts:
3rd largest world religion (after Christianity and Islam). No systematic theology. Nothing/no one has any individual self worth or value. The cast system- very bleak! Rigid laws keeing one from changing anything in their life. Some Hindus conceive of ultimate salvation as absorption into the one divine reality, with all loss of individual existence. Others conceive of it as heavenly existence in adoration of a personal god. Any one of a possible 330 million! gods. This all feels so depressing. If this life doesn't work out for you, don't worry, you will be coming back to try again. It is hopeless and dependant on some nebulous number of good works.

Reincarnation, karma, nirvana, millions of gods and goddesses, many ways of salvation- one of these ways is called the way of devotion, or bhakti yoga. There is in all of us a longing for a more emotional and personal approach to God and many Hindus try to fill this desire though this attempt at salvation. It involves a self-surrender to one of the many personal gods and goddesses. They express devotion through acts of worship, temple rituals, and pilgrimages. And I have now seen this in action. It is bowing down to a plastic idol. An idol wrapped in the finest silk and adorned with the most precious gold. But, still clearly a plastic idol. Food is set at their feet. They are put to bed and gotten up again. They get angry and offended and one can try to make ammends. But they are not loving. They care nothing for the worshiper. They do not speak. One simply has to guess how they are feeling or what they want to be apeased.

Pantheistic and henotheistic. Reality is pain- disengage.
Let me tell you, after spending a few hours in the temple I needed to disengage.
* These pictures are of just the outside of the temple and the grounds as it was disrespectful to take pictures inside.