Saturday, February 16, 2008

Worldliness

Hebrews 3:12-13
See to it, brothers, that none of you has a sinful, unbelieving heart that turns away from the living God. But encourage one another daily, as long as it is called Today, so that none of you may be hardened by sin's deceitfulness.

I realized this week that I was turning worldly. Most friends in the World still see me as a profoundly "good person", but a disciple knows what kind of sensors to equip his control system with...

Why do I think that? There are a couple factors:
- shorter quiet times, skipped quiet times in the morning that are "caught up" later in the day
- slow to open up and confess sins
- a lot of thought on money, work, getting married
- living for work
- poor relationships with brothers and sisters
- little evangelism (if you know me, you know that apologetics is almost my middle name...)
- short temper
- lower discipline in personal life and work
- feeling that my life is a burden
- lots of emotional instability
I have been reading the Sermon on the Mount (Matthew 5-7) and couldn't help to notice that I wasn't thirsty and hungry for righteousness at that moment. That was the wake-up point.
Matthew 6:31-34
"So do not worry, saying, 'What shall we eat?' or 'What shall we drink?' or 'What shall we wear?' For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own."
In other words:
Don't live for your job, don't think so much on how better your life would be in Canada, and don't despair because you're not getting married, because its spiritually ignorant people who focus on such things. God has a plan for you, just trust Him. Start repenting, trusting Him and living for Him, and you'll see it unfold. Now, stop dreaming about how better tomorrow could be, and do the most out of today you can.
I remember rebuking brothers for the same kind of stuff. Yet I end up in the same spot. God is gracious and we'll get out of this mess together. I need to surrender, especially on marriage. I did commit not to seek it actively during my time in India, and God made sure that I would stick to that, whether I liked it or not. 6 months down the road, I'm not liking it. Who said that maturity came easily?
The good part is that I did wake up at some point.
I know, deep down, that this is another challenge of surrender, and that I'll be pruned and more able to help my fellow brothers. And more humble too, which is still not natural to me.
Praying for me is a good idea, hint hint :)

Things Have Cooled Down

So, on the day they arrested the guy, there was some violence in Dadar, Vikhroli,etc.

The closest I heard of was Sheer'e Punjab, not far from work. Mid-week was cancelled.
But nothing in my precise area. You had a few worried coworkers. One had to miss an important business call just to call and check up on all her family... gives you an idea.

And the guy was released on bail... which means the whole thing will repeat itself in a month or so. Fun fun fun.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Mob Violence Against Christians in Orissa

"Ton cadeau de Noël, c'est une claque sur la gueule!"
That's what I said to a brother describing what happened...

As far as I understand, it is mostly Catholics who were victims, but don't quote me on that.

Its old news, but I thought I should share.

1 dies, 24 injured in communal clashes in Orissa

Fear of Mob Violence in Maharashtra

Centre rushes more forces to Maharashtra
This crazy politician has been spreading hatred towards north Indians (and I've been told foreigners too). There are reports of his arrest, but its not confirmed. Everybody is afraid of what happens either way...
I had folks at the office telling us to go home early and not leave, coworkers leaving early, afraid to be stuck in that mess.

I asked colleagues, and they told me that they have 'riot season' when elections come... good thing that they're not coming until next year.

Its sad that India hasn't graduated from mob violence yet. You'll see news report of that every now and then...

Sunday, February 10, 2008

Indian Cooking

Just letting you know... this week, I managed to buy veggies from the street shops. In Hindi, of course!

Then, I proceeded to cook my own Palak Paneer and Sabudana Khichedi. It was too spicy (I put too much chillies in it), but it still had the sweet taste of victory!

Weekend in Lonavla

There is a resorty town called Lonavla/Lonavala/Lonawala/Lonawla etc. that is somewhere between Mumbai and Pune. It is the home of an important Tata Power hydro dam and I got the chance to spend the weekend there.


The train from Mumbai passes there a few times a day, and I arrived early Saturday morning with some brothers and sisters of my area. Here is a Google Map link to what I think is Lonavla
We were 15, with almost half kids! That was eventful in itself!
Otherwise, we did very little (which was the point). We visited the dam, and one of the sisters managed to get us a VIP access to the garden. And what a big garden that was!!!
It served no business purpose whatsoever, but the Tata family believe in nature and greenery, so they keep huge gardens next to hydro dams just for the pleasure of it. They open it to the public, so everyone wins!
We had problems coming back. The folks at the bus stand told us we had a 12:30 bus that was starting from here, but it was coming from Hyderabad, and nearly all the seats were taken. The group got split in 2, with some who hired a taxi (a costly affair) and some of us to ended up taking the "Volvo Bus", which means a real long-distance bus that you're used to.
I wish I could give you nice photos of the majestic landscape, but my camera is dying on me. I need to find a repair centre. It was a good prayer time in the morning :D

Concert

Last week, I had the chance of seeing a performance of the Stuttgart Chamber Orchestra at the National Centre for Performing Arts in Mumbai.

I came in late with my friends, since there was so much traffic between Bandra and there (some political agitation at Shivaji Nagar in Dadar... a few guys got killed, apparently). But we came in just in time to see a piece of JS Bach, BWV 1043. The piece was good and very well played by the orchestra. I was delighted. There were other works, but I don't have a copy of the programme, which means that I can't tell what was played. But it was very good.
Afterwards, there was some food offered outside and I had the chance to eat sushi! It has been such a long time!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I met an interesting guy, who invited me to visit his personal art collection somewhere in Nariman Point.
Hint: if you can afford to have your house there, there is a good chance you can afford your own art collection ;)
I'll try to get a CD of that orchestra. Details to follow.
It did me a ton of good spiritually, since music really connects me to God powerfully. I felt serenaded. There's just no other way to put it. I wish more people could experience that.

Sunday, February 3, 2008

Catching-Up on the News

Ok... ok... I'm a bad blogger...

So, the updates are
a) Got a worst sinusitis than I'd like to have
b) Good progress at work
c) Gave messages again
d) emotional mess
e) landlord

Lets get going
a) I went to Hiranandani Hospital to see a specialist. She gave some some medicine and inhalations to do for a week and then come back. My wallet got lighter by ~ 1000 rupees that day. I love going to Hiranandani. My wallet never does!
P.S. That's where I do most of my shopping... it has a lot of stuff and its easy to get there. Malad has better shopping malls, but it takes more dedication to get there.
b) I had a few very productive days at work. We had some communication with the architect on the client side and hammered down a very strong proposal. I had to trash a couple days' work in the process, but that's part of life in software development. In the future, I'll make sure to tackle this more directly. I'm having more contacts with the client, but I'm suffering from demo curse... no demo works when I have to demo anything :'(
c) Gave a message at midweek and at the single's devo yesterday (sat evening). The fellowship is uninspiring sometimes. I have some relationships that are growing, and I'm thankful for that, but its takes convictions to persevere in an environment where I don't fit in (in many ways).
d) There has been some emotional stuff going on recently. Its complicated mess that just shows that I need to get more mature and wiser. So, there is a sister who just grabs my eye. If you know me, you know that there is nothing special about that... I talk with a brother about it, and he suggests having a date with her. Which is a big deal here. I ask for some advice, and one of the brothers decides to ask her what are her plans. But he miscommunicates and he tells me that he asked her if she is interested in me! Obviously, I've had no choice but to freak out on that one! Many "what ifs" are going in my mind, and I'm just hoping for the simple answer: a "no". In the end, I get the news that the whole thing remains anonymous, and that she's not looking to get in a relationship for now. That's a relief!
Overall, the whole thing has highlighted my frustration at being single and not seeing things changing. Why not changing? Well, one is that you can't really have a conversation with sisters. Another is that one conversation with one of the leaders is that I just won't find the woman I'm praying for in this country, or at least not in this city.
I haven't grown to be satisfied with God. So I end up feeling some hopelessness, and that in turns brings some temptations. As a foreigner in India, it wouldn't be so hard to get a girlfriend in the worldly way. Or to get an arranged marriage done quick: "Canadian IT worker, Masters' degree holder, will be in India for a few months and seeks marriage with a smart, joyful, lighthearted, life-loving and good-looking woman. Skin fairness irrelevant. Please send biodata, picture, and 100 words description fo yourself at -----@gmail.com" That'd get me a hundred emails.
I'm holding on that God will bring me (to?) a wife who will support the teaching ministry that He has entrusted me, and that its going to be orders of magnitude greater than just marrying the first pretty woman I can find. In the meantime, I have to endure having one marshmallow on the table, with a promise to have two later. For the record, I've been good at not waiting for the second. Keep me in your prayers.
I'm praying for His direction on where to go next... stay in India? In Mumbai? Go to Montreal? Somewhere else in the world? Columbia maybe?
Keep on working? Do a PhD?
I don't know... I don't care so much. Its all going to be the same anyway. Coding in Mumbai, Montreal, Berlin or Abidjan won't be so different...
e) My landlord has a low level of integrity. Rent increase and a few other things make me uneasy. I'm looking for another place. I feel like removing the Jesus stuff in the house, since he's really not a Christian. I'm struggling with vengefulness.
Please pray about all that stuff...