Author: cheok hong chuan
Date: 02-23-12 13:42
Silly and stupid ordinary Christians who do not understand what being a true Christian is! Being a Christian does not mean having to disown one's parents or ancestors!
To be a Catholic, you have to understand that God is universal and he gives universal salvation to all, whether Christian or non-Christians. God himself is not religious and sectarian. God is Spirit. God is the embodiment of love and compassion for his own children. Not in the sense of Western love but universal love. The closest we can get to understand universal love is the love of one’s parents. The loving-kindness of a wise father or mother is soft and sweet and can be hard and tough! You cannot understand God if you do not understand the Parable of the Prodigal Son lost in a different world away from the parental home. In the same vein Jesus is like the Good Shepherd looking for his lost sheep. I say sheep because in Jewish tradition, a sheep is meek and like a child and selfless or ego less, whereas a goat is stubborn and epitomises an ‘ego’. Understanding ‘ego’ is important to understanding the Fall of Adam. Adam when he tasted the forbidden fruit of the Tree of Knowledge developed an ‘ego’. We know that Adam had an ‘ego’ of ‘self’ because when God asked – “Adam, Adam, where are you?” - Adam hid and covered his genitals! With an ‘ego’ you are suddenly conscious of shame. He had become or became separated from God. Spiritual sin is separation from God. When you are totally subsumed with God there is no want of anything, not even the need or desire for the ego of ‘self’. In this way you understand the 1st Commandment that - ‘You shall have no other Gods” and reiterated in the 2nd Commandment – “You shall have no idol before me”. Both are about the separation from god by having an ‘ego’ of ‘self’.
God himself has no ‘ego’ of ‘self’! Why? The Father and son are the same and so is the spirit that they both are. In this sense you see the mystery of the Holy Trinity. There is nothing about a worldly being that we are entrapped in the outcast of the fallen self of Adam, in our guise as the son-of-Adam or the son-of-man, in the Holy Trinity! Salvation if the term is correctly used is of the spirit, and not of the worldly physical body. As a spirit we are already eternal, so we cannot die. When Jesus spoke of eternal life he is referring to our eternal spirit. Thereby he asked us to be ‘reborn’, to be ‘baptised in the spirit’, to let our light shine through the darkness of death [our mortal worldly existence]; all figurative or metaphorically expressions, for us to find out who we are [in the eternal spirit] so that we can return home as the Prodigal Son, as the ‘lost sheep’. In eternal spirit we never died or will ever die; in worldly form, we were and are lost in the outcast body form of the Fall of Adam. If the Father, the Prodigal Son and the Spirit [and spirit] are the same genetically, the Original Sin can be summed up as God having ‘no ego’ trying to get the lost son with an ‘ego’ to drop his ‘ego’ and return to the family home. So, you cannot have a Father with an ‘ego’ telling his son not to have an ‘ego’. Therefore God has ‘no ego’ and is telling his egoistic son to drop his ‘ego’ and come home. To retrain you lost in this world not to have an ego, Jesus has given us His Twin Commandments –  Love God with all your mind, body and soul and  Love your neighbour as you love yourself. Simple as that!
Now to this praying to our ancestors in the church and lighting Chinese josssticks.
We say that God is everywhere but we say that figuratively. Jesus in His last Prayer before The Last Supper said we are of this world but He and God are not of this world. God’s temple is also not in this world! We attend church out of the convenience of gathering as an assembly [‘synagogue’] to partake in the Holy Communion of The Last Supper and for the Gospel spiritual instruction. Jesus in fact instructed us to pray alone and away from everyone; and again this is to train ourselves to have no ‘ego’, to prevent churchgoing as an ‘egoistic’ pursuit. In actual fact, one should not partake in the Holy Communion if one has not been spiritually baptised, both by water and in the spirit. The ceremonial practice of water baptism is only 'tokenism’. This is because to realise you are an eternal spirit you have to ‘clean’ yourself of the world, of attachments to this world, all your egoistic pursuits of vanity and wealth and status. Water is just a metaphorical expression of cleaning yourself, for that is what in our conventional mind, in ancient times; how we clean ourselves, before they invented soap. Baptism of the spirit I have explained above.
God is not really interested in what you do on earth in terms of your worldly body and self and ceremony and man-built ‘temple’. God as a Spirit is only interested in his eternal spirit Prodigal lost sheep of a son returning home. All worldly things Jesus explained will in farming terms be dealt with by The Parable of the Seed – you shall reap what you so. For your worldly sins you shall reap what you so. You will not get out of jail till you pay the last penny. Refer to the Sermon on the Mount. God is not interested nor shall He forgive your worldly sins. God ‘forgives’ like a parent taking and welcoming back the ‘black sheep of a son. A father cannot undo what his bad son has done. All of you who are parents know what I mean. As a father of 2 sons, who have done silly if not really bad things, who have hurt me beyond description many a time, I know this experience, and yet I love them more, for like any Chinese father I feel guilty that it might be because I have not instructed them better, and therefore to blame.
And this leads me to having Chinese practice as a Christian. Why should we as Chinese not practise the journey home of the Prodigal Son with Chinese characteristics? In the outcast world of human existence is not our Chinese world different from the Jewish world, different from the Western world. All the churches of the different denominations are different architecturally and ceremonially and procedurally and ‘cantor’-ally. So why cannot we obey the 5th Commandment – Honour Your Father and Mother – in the Chinese way? In Chinese we call it ‘how soon’ or filial piety. What is wrong with paying homage by josssticks? It is only a different type of incense! Why cannot we have devotions to our parents like we do for Mother Mary, the Prophets and the Saints? Are not our parents and teachers like saints [note the small ‘s’]? The Jews pray to their ancestors, by reading out their ancestral journey from the Torah, at the Wailing Wall. They actually ‘wail’ out to their ancestors. Is not the Church altar our ‘wailing wall’? Jesus is not only God, he was also a Jew. Do you feel offended in praying to Jesus that you are also praying to a Jew?
Yes! Pray to your parents and your ancestors at the Church. Practice filial piety to your parents, to deceased parents, to one’s ancestors. By practising filial piety, in putting your parents always 1st and you always a poor 2nd, you are learning to cast off your ‘ego’ of ‘self’ and working towards the journey home of the Prodigal Son! That is what really matters, whether you are baptised by water and by the spirit. If we do not have an ’ego’ we will have the spiritual wisdom abound to know that this practice has God’s full blessings.
cheok hong chuan