October 13, 2008

Faith and Religion

I am not a regular church-goer. I did go to mass regularly up until college, but all those years barely staying awake during Salvation History has taken its toll on my attention span.

I am, of course, a believer. I believe in a higher being, I believe in angels, I believe in the goodness of the universe. My faith, though, has nothing to do with structures and rituals. It has nothing to do with preachy sermons and walking on one's knees. And it certainly has nothing to do with the Yano song that is currently playing--the kind that speaks of holy dogs and horses.

Years ago, I lived next to a crusty old woman who was known for her penny-pinching ways and her sharp tongue. She was notorious in the neighborhood for her colorful language. Because the church was within walking distance, she heard mass every day and she hosted prayer meetings in her compound.

One Sunday, she was her usual screaming, expletive-spewing self. And the subject of her tirade? Her ward, who in her words was a slow poke.

And so it goes that to this day, whenever I see the old woman my mind freezes on that particular Sunday, when she shouted for all the neighborhood to hear: "Arlene! @#$^!@&*! Demonyo ka, Arlene. Bilis-bilisan mo na at magsisimula na ang prayer meeting!

And in true Yano fashion, natatawa ako, hi hi hi hi.

5 comments:

Mel said...

This is funny and sad. No wonder Christians are being accused as hypocrites. And some of them indeed are. As a born-again Christian, I find your story so heart-breaking. Some Christians don't seem to realize that as ambassadors of Christ, their lifestyle speaks the loudest. People will not hear them for what they say, but will see them for what they do.

Just like you, faith for me is not all about religious dogma and meaningless rituals and ceremonies. It is about having a personal relationship with God. It is about accepting Christ as Lord and Saviour and then aligning my life with His teachings. Faith for me is a matter of lifestyle.

Abaniko said...

This reminds me of a person based in Manila who asked a relative to please visit another very sick relative in the province who's home alone with no one attending to her needs. She said she couldn't go as she had an important prayer meeting to attend that day. How sad!

Abaniko said...

This reminds me of a person based in Manila who asked a relative to please visit another very sick relative in the province who's home alone with no one attending to her needs. She said she couldn't go as she had an important prayer meeting to attend that day. How sad!

Annamanila said...

(Everyday) Church going is indeed not a reliable indicator of God-centeredness. Especially if this is not defined as centering not only on God but on the rest of his cratures -- human or non-human.

I used to cajole my children to go to church. Until one of them asked: "Hindi ba Mommy, God is everywhere, in the garden, in the kitchen, in the yard, in the slums, in the esteros, most of all in our hearts?"

Rudy said...

Reminds me of this guy who professes to be a born-again Christian but whose business ethics sucks. He cheated me out of my commission. Iba na talaga pag pera ang pinaguusapan...