Walking to the US embassy today to get a few more pages in my passport, which costs $82-FYI, there was this ordeal going on in front of one of the malls. There were dancers and people buying things to offer to this mini, gold, Buddha statue with one face pointing in each direction. Bangkok is blazing hot, even by 9am, and the people are kneeling before this thing. I was struck by the command from Exodus, “You shall have no other gods before me.” Of course, we all know God gets a little more specific telling the people not to make any “graven image” and not to bow and worship it.
In America, it seems silly, “No one does that anymore.” But in many parts of the world, people still do. This was just this morning. I walked on and thought about it a little more. The thing is, we do it too. We worship other things. Stealing a quote from my friend, Rob in reference to Singapore, we are on the “fast track to materialism to the max.” Maybe it’s money, or similarly, it might be our stomachs. Food, food, food.
Fasting is tough, but as believers we are called to it I think. Why is it that when I think about skipping food for a day or longer, I get depressed? Is it that bad to submit myself to voluntary weakness? I’ll be honest, when I am fasting, I’m less motivated, not as happy, and not as clear, so why would it be productive to do it? Well, that’s the point. Fasting has nothing to do with personal productivity. The best things don’t happen out of MY strength. Fasting is me getting out of the way, admitting that I cannot do the thing. Anyway, I don’t think it does me any harm to set food aside once in a while and dig in a little spiritually. That was sort of a tangent from the “no other gods” thing at the beginning, but comforts can turn into little gods if left unchecked.
So… where I started by standing there judging others, my own faults came glaring out in my face. I think the reason I quickly recognize a fault in another person, is because I have it too! I guess I should have bought incense and flowers and just kneeled down beside those people. Just kidding! The picture here is from the lobby at the guesthouse where I’m staying. Dog on the table, Buddha in the back.