Monday, November 29, 2010

Random Pics - Jakarta

I understand that Starbucks is a well known brand, but coffee and meatball may not be the perfect mate don't you think? Let me have one Growbucks meatball and hmmm, one tall caramel macchiato please? Just doesn't rhyme.

Imagine my initial response when I discovered this obscene writing on a pavement in my complex, "What bastard would wrote such profanity in a residential area full of innocent children?". Then it suddenly dawned on me that this is a jogging track, and they used to have a running race. Connect the dot, and voila. lol. Can you blame them for misspelling an English? 

Again, I can understand if you use Obama's name for your business, it's commercial anyway (although I'm not so sure he's gonna be thrilled to see that). But, Mbah Marijan, out of all people? lol. Please take Tom Cruise, or Trio Macan or even Cinca Laura for that matters, but mbah marijan? I beg not.  

How many gadget do you see in the pic? I should remind myself over and over again that I'm not at a cellular shop, that they're not selling cell phones and how many phone they have is none of my business. But, still, six phones and an ipad? I would suggest them to test for prostate cancer.

Friday, November 26, 2010

A Month After....

It has been the weirdest month, to be in a house which does not feel like a house. A big chunk of it is missing, and simply everything in the house just remind you of her. It is the weirdest feeling, to go home at night, knowing there is no more her to talk to, to wake up in the morning, seeing the kitchen without her cooking. It is the weirdest feeling, to realize in the middle of the day, that this is real, no more her figure no matter where I look for it.

It is the weirdest feeling, to be in a house that was so full of her presence, but now without her presence. It is hard to look at the cookies that she bought with me at Walmart, without being reminded of her. It is heart-breaking to see all the photo albums that she carefully gathered and collected, leaving her no chance to enjoy them. To look at the chocolate that she hadn't had the chance to eat, to look at the Korean drama that we didn't get the chance to finish. To look at her trinkets, her make-up station, her bible with her handwriting on it, her glasses, just bring up sweet memories of her, together with a painful fact.

It is the weirdest feeling, and words fail to describe what is this feeling. I think human learn and survive partly by association. We associate America with freedom or prosperity, women with being motherly like, and men with athletic prowess. That is why some truths are easier to learn because we always connect an idea with an existing idea, our mind is entangle with so many associations; a strong yet malleable link. Strong, that is why we found it hard to believe when the US economy plunged, simply because the event counter-attacked, violated and raped our existing idea. Malleable, we gradually learn to accept a newly introduced idea: business women or even stay-at-home dad. To have that link broken abruptly means to have all the associations disfigured, deconstructed, and deemed no longer valid. And the hardest of all, to have the link replaced and rewritten.

The house is deeply associated with her, from the biggest room to the smallest piece of art displayed in our living room. Her hands had touched, influenced, and curated not only the house but also all of us. She is always strongly associated with alive, with being alive, with her high spirit and genuine love. Alive!! And now how am I supposed to relive my life disfiguring the word "alive", rewriting it and learning the word "dead". How could I connect and associate her with that word?? How could I?? The association is so strong that I'm not only shouting for time to make it happen, but for a miracle to happen.

It wasn't until this time that I can fully comprehend this quote by C.S. Lewis and share in the agony,

"There is death .... I look up at the night sky. Is anything more certain than that in all those vast times and spaces, if I were allowed to search them, I should nowhere find her face, her voice, her touch? She died. She is dead. Is the word so difficult to learn?"

Is it even possible to learn? Or it is just a wishful thinking?

Our last memory. In the hospital, edited background, two weeks before she passed away,
still with oxygen tank and wheel chair... 

Friday, November 12, 2010

Baptism - The Tiberias Way

In a nutshell, Tiberias is very much associated with its miraculous signs and wonders especially through the power of Holy Communion and the Anointing Oil. The head pastor, Yesaya Pariadji, claims to receive this special commission from God himself, here is an excerpt:

"Tiberias received a special commission from the Lord Jesus to reveal the power and significance of the Holy Communion and the Anointing Oil. ... We pray that in these last days, through the bread, wine, and oil, we are sanctified, restored, healed, perfected, and sealed as a citizen of the Kingdom of Heaven"

That is a brief introduction to give you an idea of what Tiberias is about. Beside those three, Tiberias also holds a firm belief in the power of baptism; it is believed to have the power to restore people back to the images of God. And this is what I'm going to talk about; I'll try to summarize their belief about baptism, and I would like to know what's your opinion on that.

Their concept of baptism came after Pariadji's struggle about the right way to baptize: immersion or sprinkle. He claimed that God personally showed him five times that immersion is the way to go, and it is with this method that we can be restored to the images of Christ, referring to Gen 1:26, full of miraculous power. He strengthened his argument by confidently stated that it was God himself who showed him, and if proven to be untrue, his mouth shall be knitted and be thrown into hell.

Matthew 21:23-27 was where he drew his teaching from:
1. Because the Pharisee hinted that John baptism was from the authority of Heaven (v 25), then baptism must come from Heaven and thus, has the power to send us as citizen of Heaven, and thus, has the power to give us heavenly power as we are restored back to the images of Christ.

2. The right baptism is John's baptism, referring to verse 25. And upon this verse, he built the teaching that only a person who possesses the spirit of martyrdom (like John) is allowed to do baptism. A powerful and correct baptism is conducted by the right person (those with spirit of martyrdom) with the right method.

3. Pariadji then claimed to have the spirit of martyrdom, given by God himself. He was taken to Heaven, stopped by for a brief visit to Hell and saw the suffering soul of the condemned. He quickly knelt and cried at Jesus' feet and pleaded for God to let him serve their sentence, let him sacrifice his life to replace them. He insisted and pleaded three times, and finally God answered:

"Today, your pact is fulfilled, you indeed have the spirit of martyrdom like John. Thus, you are given the power to conduct the Holy Communion; power reserved only for those with the spirit of martyrdom."

What is the pact that he is talking about here? He shared that he always wanted to meet with people who is more sacrificial than him. If God fulfills it, he will honor his promise to God (no elaboration on the promise) Thus, the pact is honored when he met Jesus; he met a person who is more sacrificial than him.

4. Mark 16:16-18 unpack the signs of those who have been baptized: drive out demons, speak in new tongues, delivered from unfortunate events (pick up snakes with their hands), and heal people.

So, those were some important key points that he made about baptism. He certainly believes about the power of baptism to sanctify people, that the right baptism is only John's baptism, and he is the official person to carry out the baptism ceremony because he is endowed with the spirit of martyrdom from God.

I have heard lots of disagreement amongst denomination about baptism: requirement for salvation, immersion or sprinkle, the significance, etc, but have never heard of what Pariadji just introduced. Lots of people hold the belief that baptism serves solely as a ceremonial ritual or celebration to mark a Christian. It seems to me that Tiberias holds a much broader and more significant view of baptism, or even stands in contradiction to that view. And the ultimate question remains, how should we view this, and what The Bible says about it.

Friday, November 5, 2010

The Prologue - The Church of Tiberias

I've been coming to the church of Tiberias here in Jakarta. Why?

The Prologue

When my mom was on her sickbed, several people from Tiberias, who had never known her come to visit to pray and encourage and heal her. At first, I was a little bit uneasy because I've been to Tiberias several times, and I know their teaching and doctrine. Admittedly, there are several points that I disagree with them wholeheartedly; plain unbiblical. However, upon hearing their testimonies about miraculous healing which were delivered with great confident and deep conviction, I can't help but to wonder, "Is this story true?".

I believe in miracle, but being brought up as a rational being, the concept of miracle often being buried under. God can do miracle, yes and amen to that, but miracle never come as an ultimate comfort / remedy in my struggle and walk with God. I didn't expect miracle to happen, and I didn't think of miracle instantaneously

So when all these testimonies were being told, I was like being torn into two opposite poles. It reminded me of my little faith in miracle and that God can still work supernaturally / miraculously in this area too. But on the other hand, should I buy into their stories, how could a church with so many misleading doctrines could be blessed by God with so many miraculous wonders?

Of course I wanted to believe what they said, I wanted my mom to recover and be healed completely just like what they claimed but I know there's something fishy there, it didn't fit to the whole picture, but even if it so, they have lots of stories to tell about healing. If the stories are fabricated, why would they be so convicted in it, why would they go through all the hassle to visit and pray for the sick? And it is undeniable that their church has been used tremendously by God to bring people to him. So, what's going on here?

I was like a 5 years old trying to gulp a stream of water, I was trying to understand why and how God operates, to dissect God's mind and see what's behind it. Pondering inconclusively, I decided to come to Tiberias to check them out, with an assumption that maybe we humans are too dogmatic about doctrines.

Maybe in God's eyes, he cares less about healing or speaking in tongue or baptism, and only patiently hope that we all would realize our own flaws and come to our senses eventually. Maybe God does not label his children by denominations, and as long as we believe in him, that's what matters the most and he will bless his church regardless. Maybe this is Satan's attempt to create division among the body of Christ - war of doctrines. Maybe, I can only assume.

And that's the reason why I've been coming to Tiberias. I need to know not just the nutshell, but also all the gory details. I've been an outsider hearing all these things about Tiberias, and now I need to be an insider to see with my own eyes and to observe objectively.

It is my goal to have a well rounded information before I come to any conclusion, and hopefully I can understand God better by doing it. So here I go, embarking on this new project of my own, and let's hope that it will be a blast.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

A Modest Proposal

Hey hair,

I'm still 23 and the law of nature postulates that you are supposed to still strongly rooted in my hair scalp. You are supposed to grow vigorously, as thick as you like, as long as you wish, and I think I've created a good environment for you to do that, have I ever colored you with red or yellow? Didn't I wash and nourish you everyday?  To act and behave like this given all that I've invested in you and at a time where I still highly dependent on you to attract my female counterparts is an epic act of betrayal!!

I've collected a picture of you from my 19th birthday in 2006 to the most recent 2010, and your lack of commitment and dedication to me are evident. To say you're getting thinner at an alarming rate is an understatement, the rate is astronomical, and I urge you, no, I command you to pull yourself together and grow!! Let's do it. Together, we are unlimited...

April 2006 - Look at all the fun we had, thick and dark, everyone looked at us with envy
April 2007 - Have you concocted your diabolical series of betrayal yet at this time? Would never imagine that 2007 is my last birthday with still a perfectly fine hair volume.
April 2008 - First sign was seen. I was getting worried, shower time was terrifying, but I was still faithful that you were going to come back to your senses

April 2009 - Did you still expect me to smile at this stage? The signs were conspicuous, people started to notice, I started to count "how many, how many?"
April 2010 - And finally. Oh, concerning, deeply concerning. 
So, my dear hair, please tell me when you're going to put an end to all these. I hope you will behave just like all your other peers, at least until the next 20 years. Could you? If not, please let me know, I'm gonna have to find a place to do hair implant soon. Thanks.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Paint It with More Color

Few last entries have been pretty gloomy, and I apologize for that. This blog is like a conduit for my feelings, a place where my pool of emotions can slowly ooze out. So, especially at times like this, I might depend more on this blog to materialize my fear or grief. And I'm pretty sure more are coming up.

However, I can already sense and feel the dreariness and clouds of melancholy hovering over the atmosphere of this blog. Too much black color, and it violates the title of this blog. I need more nuance and I need it quick. so let's jazz things up!! The next post won't be so dramatic, I promise.