The new church building, if church it is to be, is coming along apace at the end of the soi (helped along by the fact that some kind of metal-cutting gear is employed during weekends and at times of the day when people generally prefer a little peace and quiet). The walls are up and the metal roof buttresses (I don’t know what these are really called – ask a builder or an architect) are jutting up into the air. It should, I suppose, be open for business of whatever sort by the end of the year.
There is, of course, another church along the way down Ladprao Road – it has the title ‘Streams of Blessings,’ presumably because whoever is responsible for branding the place (unless it has come directly as a message from a supernatural, omniscient being (no, me neither)) found it necessary to compete with local religious brands – the Buddhist philosophy offers immediate and so to speak tangible benefits for its adherents. Do good, by giving food to the monks or donating to the wat or going on some pilgrimage for example, and this will have a direct and measurable impact upon the karmic balance of the individual – this in turn has a direct impact on the nature of the form that will be adopted in the next incarnation of life.
By contrast, the Christian churches have as their brand proposition the need to be self-abnegating now with the hope that there will be pie in the sky at some stage in the future – it is a similar message but different from the Buddhist approach which does not require absolute adherence to being good but the need to be good on balance (in other words, a person can behave as badly as desired as long as compensating good deeds are performed while Christians are permanently marked by the taint of sin).
Consequently, there is a need to offer a little extra – the ‘streams of blessings’ which seem to be associated with American Christianity, which seems to me often to have a self-righteous element. In other words, not only do the Christians go around knowing they will end up in heaven but they can also swan about a bit secure in their sense of moral exceptionalism.