Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Testimony of my spiritual transformation (Part 2)- how a decisive step to practice headcovering breaks my oriental syncretic mindset

"Truth" in Japanese

Spiritual transformation is a gradual process which every believer has passed through in his/her faith journey. I must say, however, that nothing caused me to go this way so fast but the practice of headcovering. It is like an accelerating voltage! There is such an obvious and on-going transformation in me that I cannot help but praising God for this great spiritual surgery.

In this post, I am going to tell you how God has been breaking my old man and creating in me a new spirit which is called a spirit of truth-seeking.

Japanese people like to have wa among themselves . The concept of wa is defined as follows;

Wa () is a Japanese cultural concept usually translated into English as "harmony". It implies a peaceful unity and conformity within a social group, in which members prefer the continuation of a harmonious community over their personal interests. Wa is considered integral to Japanese society, and derives from traditional Japanese family values. Individuals who break the idea of wa to further their own purposes are brought in line either overtly or covertly, by reprimands from a superior or by their family or colleagues tacit disapproval. (from Wikipedia)
And I also want to add that, the members prefer the continuation of wa over the truth. We tend to think it is better to be in harmony than to be split over the difference of opinion, even if it means we have to sacrifice the truth. If you look into the religious history of Japan, you will be surprised that even different gods can co-inhabit. It is called Shinbutsu-shūgō (神仏習合 lit. "syncretism of kami and buddhas").

 “When Buddhism was introduced through China in the late Asuka period (6th century), rather than discard the old belief system, the Japanese tried to reconcile it with the new, assuming both were true. As a consequence, Buddhist temples (, tera) were attached to local kami shrines (神社, jinja) and vice versa and devoted to both kami and Buddha.” (from Wikipedia)
The fox guardians at Fushimi Inari Shrine source

Wa might not be all together wrong, but in the light of the Gospel, I realized that there are some elements which are not compatible with the Bible truth. If Jesus had acted according to the spirit of wa, there never occurred any confrontations or conflicts with the Pharisees and Lawyers. And He could have avoided the death of the Cross.

Authentic truth has exclusiveness in its nature. If something is true, another thing is false. If Jesus is the truth (John 14:6), another figures are false. Oriental religions, on the other hand, are generally embracive. I did not have any problem in worshiping kami in my paternal grandparents’ house and buddhas in my mother’s side grandparents’. I also used to go to visit shaman who was worshiping the god of fire in my childhood.

shinto priest source

Encounter with sister Jessica

Through headcovering movement site, I started to interact with sister Jessica in Arizona. I was attracted to her immediately and I wondered why I felt this way. Then I realized that she has something which I don’t have or I am lacking, that is the spirit of truth-seeking. The practice of headcovering is, in  fact, my first visible and public demonstration of what I believe to be truth and this decisive action dramatically changed me from inside. No wonder I was drawn to a sister like Jessica.

She is very soft-spoken but as for Biblical truth, she is straightforward and clear in her sayings. I was amazed by her eagerness to investigate the truth in the Bible and asked her how she was doing her Bible study. Then she kindly shared with me about her personal Bible study methods with many pictures (you can see her methods here).

Her truth-seeking spirit has influenced me and challenged me deeply. I felt my thought-world has been transformed. I often said to Him, “Oh God, something is going on in me so rapidly after I put on headcovering. I cannot grasp it all but I want to trust You to deal with me according to Your design.”

Exposure to various truth-seeking people

With this renewed mind, I started to see the world and the people differently. God opened my eyes to recognize and locate various truth-seeking people who have already gone far ahead of me.

Last week, for example, I watched the video; A Response to Mary Mohler on Christian Headcovering (here) and I read the discussions in the comment section. “Wow!” I exclaimed. “They are all truth-seeking people! They lecture, make videos, leave comments and exchange opinions because they all love the Bible truth!” Though I don’t share Sister Mary Mohler’s (Southern Baptist Theological Seminary) position on head covering, I love her and respect her because she is also a keen truth-seeker of the Bible. 

And thus I started to see that people are gathering around the Truth and not vice versa. Humans are not central but the Truth of the Bible is. This is a new world to me. This is the world where God’s people reside and talk. And I love to be part of this God’s community, His universal church body.

Ladies, this is my testimony of spiritual transformation. It is on-going like a living stream! I am so grateful for this change and I want to follow the footsteps of those who have gone ahead of me. May the Spirit of Truth fill our soul and mind “till we all come to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a perfect man, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ (Eph 4:13).” Amen.