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Posts Tagged ‘Praise the Lord’

As a kid I remember I was fascinated with Westerns, and started using swear words just to sound grown-up. What I got in return was sharp slaps from my parents for using words like “Damn, hell’s a fire, Jesus…” Of course, I mended my manners soon. When I asked my parents why I shouldn’t say Jesus, they said “I was not to use the name of God in vain and especially not as profanity.”

I stopped doing that, but couldn’t stop myself from wondering (as a teen) if it was ok for pastors do so. You see pentecostal church sessions are quite long – about three to four hour in length.

So when they run out of ideas on what to pray or preach, they start the chant: “Halleluah! Halleluah! Praise the Lord! God is Great! Jesus! Jesus! Jesus! Come down Lord! Come down! Move with us! Ur precious Lord Lesus! Precious Lord Jesus! Jesus! Jesus! Save me Lord! Halleluah! Halleluah! Halleluah! Halleluah! Halleluah! Halleluah! Jesus! Lord above all! Jesus! Jesus! Jesus! Jesus! Jesus! Jesus!”

And for a little fun, try recalling all the Jesus Ministries you’ve heard of

  • Jesus Redeems
  • Jesus Calls
  • Jesus Comes
  • Jesus Cares
  • Jesus Saves
  • Jesus Restores
  • Jesus loves
  • Jesus Works
  • Jesus Youth
  • Jesus Alive
  • Jesus Ministries Trust
  • Love of Jesus Ministry
  • Gift of Jesus Ministries
  • Ministry of Jesus
  • Jesus Driven Ministry
  • Jesus People Ministry

List is too long?

When the Full Gospel Ministry started, a lot of Pentecostals were annoyed.

I remember my grandmother asking in the AG Church Ladies Bible class, “Who do they think we are? We preach half the gospel? Or a half-baked gospel?”

There are also other institutions like the MCC Matriculation Higher Secondary School in Chetpet, which actually expands to Madras Christian College Matriculation Higher Secondary School in Chetpet.

Even Indian, Christian names are so funny and long, because parents try to strike a balance between Indian and Christian sensibilities. Being Indian, they have to name the kid after some grandparent or some rich guardian so that they don’t risk annoying them. And then they have to give the kid a Christian name or multiple Biblical names.

So my grandfather’s name was Ernest Esudasan Chandran Emmanuel Job.

My grandmother’s name was Mrs Abarahanam Vedavathy Ernest Esudasan Chandran Emmanuel Job. But her name became a misnomer after her marriage. Turning pentecostal soon after her honeymoon, she had to part with all her jewels (Abarahanam in Tamil), as the church patriarchs felt a good Vedavathy (Vedavathy- Tamil for Biblical woman) should not wear abarahanams.

My Dad’s name was pretty long – David Prabhu Dayalan Job. So my Mom, who didn’t feel upto changing her name in her bank accounts and gazette and adding on a string of other names to her already long name, remained – Mrs Sheila Lilian Sundaram. I was supposed to be Rachel Chitra Chinky Job. But since the TN govt and the Matric Board felt all students writing the 10th standard Matric Board Exam should have initials, not sir names, I became Ms D.Rachel Chitra. And being a feminist I have remained Ms D.Rachel Chitra, despite marriage and atheism taking a prominent place in my life.

Also Christian rhyming names are so funny. I remember my friends – Anne, Johnie, Johnny. Their parents had named the three siblings – Anne Gracia, Johnie Patricia and Johnny…(shucks! I forgot)

The other set of rhyming siblings, was my college friend’s melanie’s sisters. The trio was Melanie, Melody and Harmony – a take off on the popular ad jingle for Melody chocolates.

On my mother’s side we have an aunt, who had an ignonimous name and died early in life (I don’t if the two incidents have the relationship of cause and effect). Anyway this trio was named – Violet (the lucky one!), Poilet (Bad enough! worse follows) and Toyilette (Horror of horrors).

There was another Christian friend of ours, who really like the letter R – so in resonance with the rules of alliteration – she named her four daughters – Rebecca, Rachel, Ruth and Rhoda…..the list of all the R-named females in the Bible.

Rachel Chitra

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Have you guys heard of The Pentecostal Mission (TPM)? I’m sure you must have heard some half-baked guys singing loudly, off-tune and with reverberations of “Hallelluiah” and “Praise the Lord” every five minutes late into the night in your neighbourhood. Well these guys are part of the “Halleluiah goshti” or Pentecostals.

The strong, fanatical and only true followers of Christ are the TPM members.

The TPM members feel that they are unlike the lilies of the valley, which neither spin nor toil and let their heavenly father take care of them. Either these guys live in morbid fear of hell or an intense longing for heaven: Otherwise I find it hard to interpret their fanatical devotion to misinterpreting the Bible.Some of the things that are likely to get the goat of non-believers (in their language this word includes the poor, deluded Christians who are not part of their denomination as well):

*The women do not preach in church or elsewhere. You see Paul said women were to be silent in church, so the decree: No woman pastors needed. For was not Eve, the first sinner who enticed Adam to sin, a woman? Anyway these worthy disciples of Apostle Paul (who did not get married) and Apostle Peter (who found the ministry more interesting than the cares of domestic life) do not let women preach or talk in church. A woman’s duty is to listen to the men in the church, for are not men the heads of the family like Christ is the head of the church? I wonder how they always manage to come up with verses that suit their convenience. When I quote the Bible that “men and women are equal in the eyes of God,” I’m the “devil quoting the scriptures.”

*The brothers and sisters in the church lead a life more austere and Augustine than the Trappisian monks. Yup! No coloured uniforms. Plain white robes and even plainer food is the order of the day for the full-time workers of this church. I wonder how they can forgive God for creating the bright-yellow of the daffodils, the azure of the violets or the dark reds of the geraniums? Or do they feel he was wasting his time by creating dye-producing plants like the Indigo? Even the lay people in the church come every Sunday to church dressed in white. If they associate white with purity is black the colour of the devil and the BMWs, which some of their chief pastors own, the machinations of the devil? >:)

*No medicines. Medicines are taboo, according to them for is not Christ the supreme healer? This is quite a horrific misinterpretation of the Bible. My first clash with ultra-Christianity came at the age of 8, when I was vacationing in Rameswaram. A worker at the Mission hospital told us a story of how their neighbour’s child died of typhoid, because the child Christian parents wanted divine healing. The little girl, had been extremely sick, but the parents refused to take the girl to a doctor. The worker told us how all the neighbours were planning to forcibly take the child to the hospital, when the child died. He told me, the worst blow, the parents had was when the pastor, told them that the child had died because they had doubted that God would heal the child. Later, on I heard more stories of how people had to have their legs amputated, their skins peppered with diseases, because they believed God would someday heal them. Even, when I was a god-fearing Christian, I viewed all this extreme distaste. Now that I’m out of the Christian fold, I can find similarities between this fanaticism and the fanaticism that leads people from other faiths to kill their own children as sacrifices at the altar of another God.*This church doesn’t believe in letting its members see the TV, hear ungodly music on the radio or read anything ungodly. Anything apart from the Bible and their monthly text of piety called The Pentecost is termed ungodly by these people, who are the self-proclaimed true-Christians.

*Another ridiculous thing is that they don’t believe in letting women wear jewels. Apparently men wearing Rolex watches and flaunting their Fords will not in anyway increase their vanity. But women, the avaricious creatures that they are, will go haywire at the sight of gold. I think all this idiocy stems from Paul’s saying that it is better that a woman adorns herself with good works, than with jewellery or braiding their hair. Well Paul said: Its better you do this than that, but The TPM interpretation: Women must not wear jewels. So if you see most Pentecostal woman in India have to forgo gold – a security and investment, as it increases their vanity. In foreign countries I’m sure this Pentecostal teaching is no hardship, but in India, with every other housewife being decked like a jewellery showroom, it must be a pretty hard cross for these women to b(w)ear. After years of staying in the TPM church, my grandma moved away. Now, she sees the pastors’ wives in more liberal Pentecostal churches wearing jewels and badly wants to wear jewels again, but doesn’t do so because she feels it will look ridiculous to resume wearing jewels at her age. Why all this deprivation? Why all the fuss? Wear jewels if you feel like it, since its normal in Indian society for women to wear jewels. Anyway if they are going to misread Paul’s statement like that, they must also wear their hair loose and never use hair clips, hair pins, barrettes, ribbons or braid their hair. For did not Paul say it is better for a woman to adorn herself with good works than wear JEWELS or BRAID her HAIR?

Rachel Chitra

Error Regreted, Clarification: I had earlier made some references to the TPM’s history, it now appears that:

“Chief Pastor Alwin de Alwis was excommunicated by Pastor M. Daniel in France faith home on charges of sexual misbehavior.  Pastor Alwin was subsequently forced out of CPM by Freddy Paul and other senior ministers.  This took place in 1962/63.

Pastor Philip Chandapillai, Associate Chief Pastor, was assaulted by TPM believers at the Kottarakara, Kerala center faith home for changing the name from CPM to TPM.  This took place in 1983/84.”

Author’s note: This post was written more than a year ago. There are some things in the post like “half-baked guys” & “Halleluiah goshti” that I wish I had not written now. Those words sound hasty & immature. I want to apologise if I have hurt the sentiments of TPM members. But I still stand by my doctrinal criticism of the church. I have also posted another article – in which I have recounted the history of the TPM as told to me by a current TPM member.

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