Miracles Chasing Me

More-so before, my labmates and I would watch television, after some meal that I’d prepared. Usually, we’d try to catch John Stewart and Stephen Colbert, which comes on at 11:00 pm. Sometimes, we’d have nothing to watch and be forced to flip through the channels, while we all just browsed the web on laptops in my living room.

It feels as if the History channel would be fitting for such a well knowledge group, but, as we’ve all observed, this channel has transitioned from being about wars and famines to being about ghosts, aliens, and conspiracy theories.

What do I think about these ghost busters and alien investigators? Well, my friends think that they are idiotic. I find them very passionate about things that won’t get them anywhere, but what do I know? The History channel must’ve made this transition in content because it was the more profitable thing to do.

My friends probably do not account for the majority of tastes in TV viewers.

Within the last year, I’ve become a miracle chaser. In some ways, I’m afraid that this is no different from busting ghosts and investigating aliens. Perhaps, I’m more opened to this because I was raised with strong eastern beliefs in a supernatural.

A Glimpse of My Supernatural History

I was Buddhist up until I was 10 years old. My parent’s had an altar in the house, with incense that regularly burned and fruit presented on a platter for statues and paintings. I learned chants that exalted the gods and goddesses, which seemed to only worsen my childhood nightmares.

I recall my parents being very superstitious, they’d take seriously the warnings given by fortune tellers and mediums. I remember they made 50 or so copies of some Buddhist text and carved characters into the shell of a live turtle, at the advice of the spiritually clairvoyant. Now, I admit, I was young, and I may not have all the details accurate, but you get the idea.

Usually, these fortune tellers would tell us to do stuff, OR ELSE terrible sicknesses would come upon us. When we were sick, they’d tell us to do stuff, OR ELSE we’ll die.

Exposure to Faith Healings

Probably, we all remember Benny Hinn, and other healing televangelists. As a child, it was comforting to believe in miracles, although most educated people would say say that investigations show these signs and wonders to be fraudulent. Perhaps, many of these people may not have ever experienced it from a close relative or friend.

When I was 10 and living in Taiwan, we went to some powerful Buddhist medium. He was credited with having healed one of my aunts who had a tumor the size of an orange in her neck. That was the first time I was presented with someone who could speak from experience. I remember she was a tall woman with long wavy hair, and her smile was asymmetrical from nerve damage.

Back in the US and after becoming Christian, I’d recall similar stories from missionaries abroad and Christian television shows like the 700 club. Besides that one time with my aunt in Taiwan, no one really talked about faith healings, ESPECIALLY not the Christians.

My Introduction to Pentecostals

One of my best high school friend’s mom, was very much into the greater works of the Holy Spirit. In high school, I had a deep connection with God, because of what had happened that one year in Taiwan, so her mom decided to take the both of us to some Pentecostal retreat center.

If I were to describe it now, it’d sound like some strange cult, where they gathered to hear this woman, Sylvania Machado, speak in Portuguese about her supernatural healing and how gold dust fell out of her hair. To be honest, it did look like glitter sand pouring out from her head. Even so, I wasn’t very enchanted by it all.

I felt pressured to be “baptized by the Holy Spirit,” and they said that I was too concerned with what other people around me to break out into tongues. I do eventually do the whole tongues thing about 10 years later, that I wrote about here. I remember being pushed down in the whole falling over as she came around to touch my forehead with oil that apparently comes out of her hands. It sounded kind of gross, but smelled like baby oil or some similar fragrance and viscosity on my forehead.

Sylvania’s story was incredible, and other than my friend getting healed of a stomach ache, I don’t really remember much else.

(As I was looking for an image of Sylvania, there are a few haters. These days, it seems like anyone who talks about a supernatural gets hated on. People are so quick to think that someone is a threat against them, but if they’re a fake, then why bother?)

College and Beyond

In college, I was coming to terms with the fact that churches suck, and I was working my way around college Christian groups like InterVarsity, and just about every other group (but mostly, InterVarsity). Perhaps the most charismatic groups where the ones what had more black people– I’m not making a generalization, I’m stating an experiential fact. These groups were: Armor of God, Warriors for Christ, and the UD Gospel Choir.

No one talked about prophecy and healings much. On campus, there was one lady who spoke about bitterness and knowing our benefits, who I believe was probably pentecostal. Isaac Hicks (who’s a blogger on this site) often prayed in tongues. I also remember being invited to see Joyce Myers once by a classmate.

At this Korean Presbyterian church I went to, (which btw, does not believe in this stuff) there was a guy, Mike Hu, who was keen to the Lou Engle and Che Ahn stuff, and spoke positively about healings and praying away head aches. He seems unaggressive and maybe even undercover with his charismatic beliefs.

Isaac and I did a prayer night, and there was a guy there who looked like a GI Joe named Braham, who was so hungry to see healings happen. Looking back, I wish I had taken him more seriously. One night, I had on of the worst stomach aches, and Braham wanted everyone to lay hands on me. For a few seconds, the pain lifted. We didn’t really know what we were doing, so the healing itself didn’t leave much of an impression on me. Though, I can clearly remember having the thought of what I would do if seeking God meant that I’d have such pain every time I prayed.

The last two are the most impactful experiences I’ve had with charismatic Christianity in college, and both were through my academic mentor, who was living with leukemia. Although, both these experiences impacted me more on the prophetic side of things. One being a man, who was a psychologist, with some past or present affiliation with the Catholic church, and, currently, had a healing ministry. Funny enough, I recall him saying that he could’ve done a similar ministry to Benny Hinn. I forget his name, but I did go to one of his healing services, wondering why he couldn’t heal my mentor, if he believed that such was possible.

The second one was a woman who had a home-church called the “Nottingham Network.” It’s, perhaps, my first exposure to home churches. There, the woman, named Vivian, told a story of her own healing. Again, these stories are amazing and everywhere, but still, not enough to change my level of faith on the matter.

What you have just read is the entirety of my experiences with healings up until this past year.

The Past Year

Since all of that, which really isn’t much interacting with faith healings, my exposure has unintentionally gone up far beyond quadruple the amount of prior encounters combined. The beginning of this chapter starts at this past conference on Foundations of Digital Games, where there was another conference at the same retreat center for the Church of Christian Science. I’ll write about this past year in another post.

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7 thoughts on “Miracles Chasing Me

  1. “Back in the US and after becoming Christian”

    You sped over the most interesting part! I want to know what server you connected to to get Christian software, how it installed in you and executed, and how it pushed Buddhism 0.6 off the process list.

  2. Well, I suppose I should tell that story sometime…. but i’ll give you the short version.

    Taiwan was horrible… the adults were so messed up, by my 10 year old observation.

    I had two roads to go down… It felt like one side was Buddhism and the other side was Christianity.

    When I would see the world from a Buddhist belief system, the only conclusion I could come up with is that life is hard and I should just die… right now..err, right then. Now, I know that’s not a Buddhist teaching… but I was pretty strongly infused with Buddhist doctrine and every time I’d try to process the world by those doctrines… the answer would come back as… it’s time to die.

    scary huh?

    ….. I mean, I was 10 at the time, but when I asked God what the point of suffering was… He uh, actually answered me… Which ended up being the complete opposite of what Buddhism “felt” like… From the silly sunday school coloring books, children skits, and sing-a-longs, all I could gather was that Christians thought God was so great and awesome and that heaven was the place to be. I told God, “if heaven is so great, I don’t want to be here anymore..”….

    God said, “these adults are unhappy b/c they live for themselves…. I didn’t create you so you could spend your whole life trying to find all the things to make yourself happy….. in the amount of time, you have to live, you can lessen the suffering of others…. and if I took you now, that’s an eternity of heaven, but say you have another 90 years of life… and in that 90 years, 5 more people would also find that same eternity..(He said 90 and 5… i remember those numbers) …. Would your 90 years of “suffering” be worth the eternity of those 5 people?….

    both roads looked logical and true…. the “it’s time to die” road and the “life’s not about you” road… but it’s funny, now when I think back, I wasn’t talking to anyone when I was contemplating Buddhism… it’s not like i was asking the gods and goddesses for answers… it just felt like, it was time to die…. By the time I was 10, I had associated prayer with conversation…. so, instead of processing the Christian doctrines which were all lame anyways… i just asked God, himself…

    Either I’m an incredibly deep (or partially insane) 10 year old… or God is real and really spoke to me…. maybe a little of both… (minus the insane part)..

    that’s the short version….

    1. and honestly, i think that’s why i FEEL different and I AM different from most “Christians” I meet…

      I believe most Christians I’ve met do not acknowledge ever hearing the voice of God…. and therefore go through motions that misrepresent what Jesus was all about…..

      1. I am curious now about your interpretation of “what Jesus was all about”. I have an understanding of his life that makes really good sense to me and still feels meaningful, I am curious how others see it though.

      2. i should have a better answer for this.. but i believe that Jesus was about reestablishing humanity and all of creation to what we were meant to be…

        we arent slaves to sin, addiction, hate, greed.. etc. The old way of thinking was that once man did something wrong, that we would spend the rest of humanity trying to fight the destructive tendencies of being human…

        I actually talk about it here: http://blog.ffpaladin.com/2011/04/good-friday/

        See, christians live as if when they die, they get eternal life… they are finally free of sin…

        I believe Jesus came to let us know that we already are free from sin, and that eternal life starts at the point that we believe our debts have been paid for…

        Jesus replied, “Very truly I tell you, everyone who sins is a slave to sin. Now a slave has no permanent place in the family, but a son belongs to it forever. So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed.

        ——————

        So, before Jesus, we were subject to living right by the law…. but Jesus came so that we didn’t have to strive for that perfection… so that we can be set free from addiction, greed…. etc, by our own volition.

        “Therefore no one will be declared righteous in God’s sight by the works of the law; rather, through the law we become conscious of our sin.”

        The law exists to show that we suck at being good…. but following the law is not what justifies us.. It’s believing that Jesus sets us free from all that….

        I mean, basically… i’m saying that if Christians really believed what Jesus was about, they’d eventually be like Jesus….

        Most christians don’t believe that… that’s why they suck…. haha, but we all suck. that is, until we realize and accept that we can be justified… just not by anything we’ve done…. only by accepting and believing that we are justified is how we are justified.

        “18 I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us. 19 For the creation waits in eager expectation for the children of God to be revealed. 20 For the creation was subjected to frustration, not by its own choice, but by the will of the one who subjected it, in hope 21 that the creation itself will be liberated from its bondage to decay and brought into the freedom and glory of the children of God.”

        So anyhow, Jesus came to let us know who we ACTUALLY are…. and ALL OF CREATION waits for us to stop being all emo, apathetic, and depressed… get up, and start helping to RECLAIM the messed up problems, RESTORING creation to be what it was intended to be….

    2. That is very interesting. First of all that description of Buddhism, with all the spirits and medicine ladies threatening you with DEATH etc etc is way different than the core feeling I got of it… I guess it’s safe to say that the original Buddha’s “software” about following the Eight-fold Path to help reduce suffering has morphed quite a bit with tons of superstitious side spirits as it traveled through miles and centuries.

      I’m perfectly fine with the incredibly deep-insane explanation, that seems like a perfectly valid response from a smart 10 year old. And questions like “What’s the point when there is so much suffering?” seems like a genuine question, and “Well, you could help some people in the time you have here” sounds like a valid answer.

      How has the search for Your 5 gone? I think I will think of that as something in your Quest Log from here on out.

      1. Shane, seriously.. what you’ve seen happen to Buddhism in the East is what happened to Christianity in the West…

        theres some food for thought… haha.

        Republicans and Fundamentalists scare me sometimes…

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