Tuesday, January 27, 2009

falling from grace

Is not going to church (any Christian church) falling from grace? Are we in eternal damnation for not going? If we fail to go a couple of Sundays and then go back to church, are we back in grace? If we stop going for a long time and then return, are we once again in grace? Does all this matter at all?

Sunday, January 11, 2009

oh well

I wasn't very eager to go to the Episcopal service (10am). I'd rather much more hang out at FAPC. I'm definitely considering just going to the Bible studies at 9:30am at FAPC next week.

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

selling my faith

I tried to coax three good friends of mine to go to a church of their liking. By no means, are they atheists, but they've refused so far.

1. One said that he's a better Catholic that I am. Well I'm not sure if I'm really Catholic after all. So I guess he's right, but that's no excuse not to go to church.

2. Another one (also raised Catholic) said that she was upset that I'd mentioned that she was not in God's grace. She said that my attitude was draws her away from church.

3. Yet the third one (probably raised Episcopal) never responded. At least, I under her since she lost her baby girl not even three weeks after been born. How could a person love someone (God) who takes away what/whom one holds most precious?

In few words, I've failed for the time being in my attempt to save the soul of each of my friends or at least his/her sanity.

One thing that religion does is bring an internal peace to an individual. If my friends don't care about a God figure, at least religion can take the stresses of life in general.

What's my reason? Of course, I'd appreciate the salvation of my tortured soul as a friend (#2 above) called it, but that not my immediate goal. I want that internal peace.

what I think about religion

I guess that religion will remain a strange factor in my life. I do enjoy pornography and other improper non-Christian behaviors, which I've been trying to avoid.

In the past several months, I've tried to avoid Catholicism. Surprisingly I went to an Episcopal church, All Saints, this past Sunday. Episcopalism is merely an extension of Catholicism and I found this past Sunday's service fairly uptight (just like a Catholic mass) without the freedom that Presbyterianism gives me.

I guess I'd become a member of the FAPC congregation after all. Maybe this why tomorrow I'll go to a group at FAPC on technology at 7pm. I'm so eager to do something at this church (like helping with the website). Perhaps I might merely be looking for some level of acceptance from my "peers." Perhaps I'm just getting "old" and I need some assurance that my life has had some meaning. Either way, I'd never felt this way for any church of any denomination. Does this mean that I'm a reformed Protestant now of some sort?

Living in NYC, one has as many faiths to chose from. Well I don't know what to think at this point. Yes, this was an experiment to find God in different ways (roads), but which is the right one for me? Should I also try Islam and Krishna in search of God regardless of the human name given to him (Jehovah, Allah, Krishna, Buddha, etc)? By the way, how can we be so sure that God is a man? I can't respond so many questions right now, but could I ever?

Sunday, January 4, 2009

double duty on 01/04/2008

All Saints Episcopal Church (60th St & 2nd Ave; http://www.allsaintsnyc.org/)
1. The Episcopal church is too much like the Catholic church, perhaps almost identical. The only difference I know of is that a vicar (priest) can get married.
2. It has a similar service structure than a Catholic mass, including kneeling when the bread and wine are presented.
3. The service is somewhat recited, which makes it hard to hear and worse yet comprehend at times.
4. The biggest difference to a Catholic mass was that the congregation stands during the reading of the New Testament is read.
5. Another huge difference to the Presbyterians is that the congregation is the "people" and not the "ministers" of the church.
6. I didn't like it as much. It was rather dull. Yet I couldn't stop weeping thinking of my sick child.
7. Will I come back? Yes, I would to prove my point or to simply decide if I should just go to a Catholic or Episcopal church. The latter is doubtful.

Fifth Avenue Presbyterian Church (5th Ave & 55th St; http://www.fapc.org/)
1. The services are very rock n' roll and open to talk about sex (NEXT Ministries meeting, about 12:50pm to about 1:45pm with Rev Paul Rock)
2. Rev Black Scott Johntson makes the sermons entertaining with constant references to society, news, movies and science fiction. They are in common English, not recited.
2.1. The latter is still proof that science fiction has lots of its roots in religion.
3. I was more than excited to take communion today (a dry piece of white bread and some grape non-fermented juice, probably Kedeem).
4. Will I come back? Of course, I will since I like this church.
5. There's no 5 this time.

Saturday, January 3, 2009

regardless of religious beliefs

By the way, a church or temple should help people in need regardless of religious beliefs.
This is why I like FAPC. Now does anyone want a cup of coffee?

so alone in my journey

Many people (some who should be backing me up) don't believe that I'm looking for God. They see me as a demon making up a charade. Since my mental condition is like living with my own worse enemy in my head, I've been less than good person at times. Now being medicated with antipsychotics, I try to find peace in my head and soul. Of course these people doubt my intentions and even criticize me. Well I've learned not to care. I've always thought of myself as being alone. So alone in this journey I'd be wondering if I'm worthy to be in God's grace.

Friday, January 2, 2009

my purpose of going to church

My decision to go to a church or temple for a sermon or prayer is to simply find peace for my tortured soul (as a friend once called me). It's the same reason I watch the 700 Club (http://www.cbn.com/700club/) and listen to Joel Osteen (http://www.joelosteen.com/). It's not for the salvation of my soul though, but rather for my sanity.

15 weeks later

So 15 weeks later, here I am still going to a Presbyterian church every Sunday. I feel very comfortable in this church. Is feeling too comfortable a bad Christian thing? Maybe it is.

Nonetheless I'm seriously thinking to continue shopping around and go to an Episcopal church. There are two that have caught my attention All Saints (http://www.allsaintsnyc.org/) and Saint Thomas Church (http://www.saintthomaschurch.org/) (in order of importance to me). Now am I betraying the Presbyterian church if I go to the Wednesday service after work? Then again I could go to church on Sundays (11:15am) and Wednesdays (6pm).

Thursday, January 1, 2009

during those 13 years away from church

I learned or at least read about Islam, Judaism and even Krishna (http://www.krishna.com/). I've even supported different religions and groups like International Society for Krishna Consciousness or ISKCON (http://www.iskcon.com/). Well my friends and kin are of every possible religion and/or faith. For example, my mother follows teachings of guru Sai Baba (http://www.sathyasai.org/). My oldest son (a hardcore Catholic since a little boy) freaks out every time my mother makes a comment about this guru.

mental disorders and church

I've been diagnosed with bipolar disorder, obsessive compulsive disorder and attention deficit disorder. I'm a real mental case. In my case and that of hundreds of thousands, how can religion help? Does a church of any Christian denomination help or understand or accept us?

so where am i at?

So I've just posted six of my annotations for the past several months. I ended up going only to the Fifth Avenue Presbyterian Church (http://www.fapc.org/), which I find very welcoming and for lost souls like me. Now the question is if I'm still Catholic or now a Presbyterian?

12/14/2008, me singing carols?

On 12/14/2008, I sang carols (12:30-1:30pm) with the neXt Ministries (men and women in their 20's, 30's... me latter group) group and met Becky who welcomed me to the Next Ministries (http://www.fapc.org/index.php/connect/for-20s-and-30s/25-focus-of-next). It feels like the constant need to belong somewhere and in a group of peers, which I still see as the reason for people to group according to common beliefs, backgrounds, likes and dislikes (roots for the structure of religion).

11/23/2008 at 11:15am, not a new member of FAPC

Over all, I guess that in the past nine weeks I've merely tried to justify my existence. Yes, I believe in God though.

I'm on way to FAPC (10:27am). Today (11/23/2008 at 11:15am) I was supposed to have become a member of FAPC, but I've decided to wait. This past Monday, Reverend Webber called me at work asking why he didn't have my information sheet (yellow sheets). I told him that I wasn't fully ready. I still feel uneasy about joining a group, a congregation in this case (something that I haven't expressed). Will I ever join and become part of a presbyterian congregation (Church of Scotland)?

I'm attracted to the Episcopal church (Church of England) too. I was originally thinking about going to there too.

Perhaps this is my mere admiration to the UK and my rejection to my Hispanic heritage or perhaps simply being more at ease in an English-spoken service. Maybe it's me just been sick and tired (almost disgusted) of the Catholic church, its interpretation of faith and its corruption (the one bad apple that spoils the rest).

Should I rather look into the Christian interpretation from a middle-eastern point of view? If so, what should I be looking for? I'm a mere mortal trying to save my immortal soul as much as I might deny the latter.

11/09/2008 - WEEK 8

What We Believe -- New member inquiry
Sundays 11/09/2008, 11/16/2008 12:30 to 3pm (11/09/2008 only to 2:15pm)

» I felt as if I was betraying what my grandmother taught me.

10/19/2008 11:15AM

"Guide Along The Wilderness Road"
by Rev. Randolph Weber

* Second week in a row late about 5 to 10 minutes; still wondering why I go to FAPC when Anglican is about a block away and St Pat's cathedral (Roman Catholic) is about three blocks away

* Continued taking notes, learning, trying to understand; still not interested to be a member of a congregation

* Finally gave an offering ($10, $5 per week, cheap bastard), hadn't given in two weeks prior; considered using checkbook for income tax write-off, but better off doing it in cash (no recognition, no show-off); moneys not for the church although needed to maintain the church (20% for utilities, etc), 80% for different projects like meals to the homeless who sleep/rest on the steps of the church for refuge/shelter at 5:30AM and late at night; to return something to God for what he has given us

* five weeks coming to church and my mind starts wondering for the second time, thinking of sex and other shit, why? ADHD? most likely not

* Sermon: God using people to teach others about Christ, our faith in part to unite people; should tell others our experiences regarding God; must "follow through" and continue helping those we teach about God

* Took postcard on Adult Education
** Interested in course "Tools for Bible Study"
11/16/2008 & 11/23/2008 9:30-10:45AM
Registration: Mary Bostic (mbostic@fapc.org)
Tell her about the Sword Project (Bible Desktop)


0. Understanding and reading about other religions including islam and krishna (my own books) for several years
1. Installing 'Bible Time' (http://www.bibletime.info/) for the 'Sword' project (http://www.crosswire.org/), on Kubuntu at home and a Java application on Windows at work, visiting several on-line Bibles
  1.1. Also as a Java application, BibleDesktop (http://www.crosswire.org/bibledesktop/).
2. Listening to Joel Osteen, podcast subscription
3. Listening to 'Geeks for God' (technology to make a better church), podcast subscription
4. Watching 700 Club, subscriptions to CBN emails and my own account, podcast subscription and TV
5. Reading 'Charisma' and 'Ministry Today

09/28/2008, third week in a row, yeah!

Fifth Avenue Presbyterian Church (http://www.fapc.org/)
Service from 11:15 to 11:15am
with Pastor Rev. Dr. Scott Black Johnson

1. World Prayer Sunday, all Christians in united prayer and communion, started by Presbyterians in 1800's, now (1940's) adopted by other Christians faiths, languages, origins, etc
  1.1. Baptism of two and introduction of new (registered) members of the congregation, me not a member still (well at least, not yet)
2. Sermon: difference between agnostics and atheists using new movie with Bill Maher:
  2.1. Agnostics confused, not sure about Christianity, would rarely fight
  2.2. Atheists sure that there's no God, passionate to fight and sell their conviction, belief that religion does more damage than good
  2.3. Good to question what we don't understand in our faiths, not as lack of blind faith, but to really understand and learn our faith
3. Me feeling not worthy, still feeling like fish out of water, still sitting in the back left of the church, trying to understand customs and over all church behavior, still taking notes
  3.1. Didn't take communion (small piece bread and small cup of wine), which was passed around, not ready, no confession before communion?
4. Why not walk four blocks down to St Pats?
  4.1. Still find Presbyterian church very rock n' roll, not so formal and up-tight, no saints and prayers to them (weird?)
  4.2. Much more sense than Catholic church, married pastors, female pastors (uh?)
  4.3. 'Our Father' also recited

09/20/2008 (first time in a church in so long)

Fifth Avenue Presbyterian Church
(founded 1808, 200 years of service)
Service from 9:30 to 10:30am
Pastor Rev. Dr. Scott Black Johnson
"My Lord is my shepherd I shall not want"
* Vulnerable God who knows what it is to be shepherd (flesh, prompt to pain, etc)
** Me feeling not worthy, sitting in the back row to left (upon entrance), with tears

Christ Church (United Methodist)
Park Ave & 60 St
Service from 11 to ? (walked out)
* Not a planned stop, drawn into it, but no sermon almost 30 minutes into the service, so walked out
** Me feeling extremely alien listening to too much singing from the choir, no substance

All Saints Church (Episcopal)
230 E 60 St, NYC
* Missed Sunday only service, 10 to 11am
* Next service Wednesday 6 to 6:30pm