Wednesday, June 30, 2010

The LORD is my shepherd; I shall not want

It's funny how ignorance can affect us in all aspects of life including our faith.

1 The LORD is my shepherd; I shall not want.
2 He maketh me to lie down in green pastures: he leadeth me beside the still waters.
3 He restoreth my soul: he leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for his name's sake.
4 Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me.
5 Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies: thou anointest my head with oil; my cup runneth over.
6 Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life: and I will dwell in the house of the LORD for ever.
-- Psalms 23:1-6 (KJV)

I always thought that Psalm 23:1-6 meant that, yes, God's our protection and guidance (shepherd), but we'd still reject him.

In other translations of the Bible, it clearly says that we need nothing else since God's our protection and guidance (shepherd).

1 Yahweh is my shepherd:
I shall lack nothing.
2 He makes me lie down in green pastures.
He leads me beside still waters.
3 He restores my soul.
He guides me in the paths of righteousness for his name's sake.
4 Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death,
I will fear no evil, for you are with me.
Your rod and your staff, they comfort me.
5 You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies.
You anoint my head with oil.
My cup runs over.
6 Surely goodness and loving kindness shall follow me all the days of my life,
and I will dwell in Yahweh's house forever.
-- Psalms 23:1-6 (WEB)

Ignorance can be painfully bad, aside from making us look stupid at times (like in my case with these verses). This is yet another reason why we should study the Bible (

as far as devotionals go...

Renee Johnson (@faithbookjesus)This is a nice little quote from my friend Renee that I just had to borrow/steal.
"As far as devotionals go, the last day of the month is my fav to reflect, pray, journal, and read the Word so I can 'try again' next month!"
-- Renee Johnson (@faithbookjesus)

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

no need to read the Bible!?

Today I was talking to a good friend of mine who's been enduring a deep and long depression since her ex-boyfriend called off their engagement. She told me that she felt as if God has no time for her problems and rants.

I told her that we all feel that way once in a while. It's weird that she told me this merely two days after (Sunday the 27th) Reverend Kate Dunne at FAPC ( talked about this same issue in her sermon ( She mentioned that we all need to "ask for directions" to find God and that such guidance comes from the Word of God (the Bible). Hence reading and studying the Bible can surely lead us to God.

As I tried to cheer up my friend of over two decades, I asked her if she read the Bible. As a "good" Catholic girl brought up in a Catholic home and taught in an all-girl Catholic school, she told me that she doesn't read the Bible at all. This comes as no surprise.

Growing up Catholic meant not reading the Bible and taking whatever came from the altar as true and law. As a Catholic, we weren't even required to have a copy of the Bible. This might be biggest mistake in the Roman Catholic Church -- other than sexual abuse, theft, murder and other crimes that no one wants to talk about.

I've learned that every person who calls him/herself Christian should read and/or study the Bible alone and/or with others. A person should question and learn from the Word of God. Only in this constant questioning, a person's faith can really grow. Further more this spiritual growth should also be lived out by serving others as a means to serve God.

Anyway I sent her the reading of this past Sunday, on which the pastor had written her sermon. Hopefully it'd help her somewhat to read key verses of the Bible.
51 And it came to pass, when the time was come that he should be received up, he stedfastly set his face to go to Jerusalem,
52 And sent messengers before his face: and they went, and entered into a village of the Samaritans, to make ready for him.
53 And they did not receive him, because his face was as though he would go to Jerusalem.
54 And when his disciples James and John saw this, they said, Lord, wilt thou that we command fire to come down from heaven, and consume them, even as Elias did?
55 But he turned, and rebuked them, and said, Ye know not what manner of spirit ye are of.
56 For the Son of man is not come to destroy men's lives, but to save them. And they went to another village.

57 And it came to pass, that, as they went in the way, a certain man said unto him, Lord, I will follow thee whithersoever thou goest.
58 And Jesus said unto him, Foxes have holes, and birds of the air have nests; but the Son of man hath not where to lay his head.
59 And he said unto another, Follow me. But he said, Lord, suffer me first to go and bury my father.
60 Jesus said unto him, Let the dead bury their dead: but go thou and preach the kingdom of God.
61 And another also said, Lord, I will follow thee; but let me first go bid them farewell, which are at home at my house.
62 And Jesus said unto him, No man, having put his hand to the plough, and looking back, is fit for the kingdom of God
- Luke 9:51-62 (KJV)

This whole process of reading that sacred book that we weren't required to read would be like forgetting everything that we were told growing up and "learning" to be Christian all over again.

What troubles me is that she was the die-hard Catholic growing and I was the stray. Now it seems that the roles have changed. It'd be different if we could just share jokes without the void in our souls that religion had left us with.

After all, it took me thirteen (13) years to go back to church. I probably spent three (3) of those years dying in that void where no drug or religion could rescue me from (the words I often used). In all it could easily have been twenty (20) years in a godless state. That's almost half of my life as a stray in a godless land, but at least I've gone to church every Sunday for close to two (2) years.

Now it's time for me to help her (for a lack of a better expression). I just hope I can do a good job. One thing that I must consider is that I shouldn't try to "covert" her to Protestantism.

Friday, June 25, 2010

gulf spill, day 66; time to pray!?

It's been almost 70 days that the Gulf of Mexico has been constantly destroyed by petroleum and human greed. In a nation with one of the best technologies on the world, not stopping this leak is pathetically embarrassing (trying to keep my political ideology in check). At the same time, in a nation where praying is close to unlawful, the governors of some of the states most affected are asking for a prayer.

"The governors of Alabama, Mississippi, Louisiana and Texas, and the Lt. Governor of Florida issued proclamations this week calling their citizens to pray for a solution that stops the leak."
Governors Declare Day of Prayer for Gulf Spill

It may sound absurd nowadays, but this is how this nation started. Early Americans believed in God and with their faith built a great nation.

"Throughout our history, Alabamians have humbly turned to God to ask for His blessings and to hold us steady during times of struggle. This is certainly one of those times."
-- Alabama Gov. Bob Riley (06/23/2010)

What happened to the nation of those who dared and risked it all in order to win and/or accomplish some "impossible" goal all the while praying to the Lord? Have we become too proud to ask God for guidance and/or help? Perhaps we've simply betrayed the Christian nature of this nation ( Let's dare to pray and ask God for help!

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

my addictive behavior

As I mentioned before (, I shared part of my life with a girl who had a mental and emotional condition. One reason I continued going out with her regardless of her mental condition was my need to have someone at my side. Perhaps that is the same reason why she continued coming back and holding on to the relationship for almost two years.

Fear of being alone can be addictive and self-destructing perhaps more than illegal drugs and prescription drugs. You'd continue with that person whether there's love or not, whether you're using that other person or being used. If there's no connection, a couple should break up, but as most forms of addiction it stops us from taking any reasonable decision. Hence we continue hurting ourselves regardless of the consequences including death and violence (fun sexual violence or simply physical abuse).

Perhaps this is why the lonely look for God. We all need someone at our side -- man, woman, son/daughter or one's faith. After two decades or so, I've learned that I needed to find God. Maybe I have or maybe I still need to. At this point, I'm confused (no surprise there).

just a defective brain or simply insane?

My first experience with mental decease was Sheila -- a girl I went out with on and off for about two years about two decades ago. She was loud and weird, fun and crazy, annoying and sweet. She was the classic New Yorker, but she had a medical condition that made her a bit weirder than most people in NYC.

The chemistry in her brain was a bit off (much more than mine at the time) and she scared me several times with her black-outs. She'd pass out and then wake up not knowing where she was (as hitting the reset button on a computer and wiping out its memory and all temporary files). There are parts of her life that she could never recall and maybe still can't. Not taking her medications only made her condition worse and especially dangerous at times.

I'm glad I was with her when she had some of these episodes as I made sure that she was fine. Maybe this is the reason why her mother liked me. She knew or at least felt that her only child was safe.

One day, I wasn't with her when she blacked out. She called me some time after. She didn't remember me at all. It was weird to be a stranger to a person who had known me very well. Months of her life were simply gone. Some time later, she had rebuilt her memories and infatuation (no better word to describe her often obsessive and addictive behavior) with me from her diary and friends especially.

We continued dating on and off for a little while. Some time later we stopped seeing each other. Ever since I've wondered about her mental health. I wish we could meet and talk, perhaps laugh and be friends, but I can't recall her surname.

Of course, after such a long time, my memory if these events might be wrong. Yet that brief moment of my life that we shared helped me understand and survive mental illness.

Nowadays I know many people with mental problems including myself. As a matter of fact, I never thought then that meeting her could actually save my life -- understanding that I must take medication every day just to live like "normal" person one more day.

* Sheila, if you ever read this, contact me via Twitter (@project05952381) or any way you want. Maybe we can be friends again. By the way, you'd know whose words these are just by reading this.

Monday, June 21, 2010

my Bible vs your Bible

There are several versions and translations of the Bible in any given language (about 20 in English alone). Ever since I started being curious about being a "true" Christian (about a decade or so ago), I've really realized that there are so many Bibles. I've since also wondered about the differences between the different versions and/or translations of the Bible.

What's my choice? I personally opt for the easiest to read and understand. I have
1. KJV on my phone ( and my old Palm Visor Deluxe,
2. NRSV ( that I bought at church,
3. KJV ( ( side-to-side comparison that I got as a present,
4. KJV (, NET ( and WEB ( if not more modules at different times on Xiphos (
5. and NET ( and NLT ( bookmarked.

All these versions and/or translations say pretty much the same sometimes using exactly the same words. Nonetheless many groups of Christians would argue that their Bible of preference is the "correct" Bible. This is clearly a stupid argument and it has become one of the biggest excuses that we -- Christians -- have to quarrel and separate into factions.

Said all this, am I right or wrong to read and try to make sense of the Bible in its numerous versions and/or translations? Well let's just say that I hope I'm not wrong.

By the way, for Trekkers there's a Klingon ( version of the Bible ( For those who think that this might be of bad taste, let me point out that Klingons -- if they existed -- would also be part of creation and hence also children of God. Besides religion should be enjoyed and not experienced as a punishment of sorts.

Bible in my hand

Having Go Bible (an application built on the Sword Project framework, with the KJV module; installed in my phone or other version of the Bible in my hand at all times doesn't make me a better Christian or a Christian at all for that matter. I only installed Go Bible because technology allows me have a searchable version of the Bible in my phone for reference. It's also a cool program to have. Well I just wanted to put this out in the open and keep myself honest.

Said the latter, many Christians have their copy of the Bible at hand all the time. These are the same folks who either (1) live and die by the Bible trying to the righteous in a desperately honest way or (2) are simply too hypocrite to realize or admit that they use the Bible (the word of God) to commit and excuse their selfish actions like condemning others.

One shouldn't follow the Bible blindly, but rather study it and acquire wisdom from it. At the same time, no one but God has the right to judge and condemn. After all, God's invited us all to his Kingdom, but we still have to check in to go through his door.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

my sick child (happy fathers day)

Having and taking care of a child is difficult within itself. If the child is sick or handicapped, it's a much harder responsibility, but you gladly embrace it harder than your life itself.

My 8-year-old (9 next month) is sick and handicapped. It's been a roller coaster ride looking for a cure or the best therapy/care. Within his condition that has affected his nervous system and absorption of nutrients (similar to Celiac decease), there are several schools of though from conventional medications to trying to rebuild the damaged soft tissues (stomach, nerves, chemical reactions, etc).

Right now we're working with a doctor in Eastchester, about two hours away from where I live, who's helped my little boy in about eight months more than all these other doctors in the past eight years. If anyone's interested in getting touch with this doctor, contact me via Twitter (@project05952381).

It's been over eight years holding on to my faith on a cure and/or therapy that we keep looking. This blind faith that God would lead us to a cure and/or therapy for my little boy might be the reason why I started going back to church (whatever Christian denomination) and eventually opted for FAPC (http://www.fapc.prg/). I even had my youngest boys baptized at FAPC (

In all, I keep holding on to my blind and at times senseless faith. I know God will deliver, but I wish I knew when and what. In all, everyone has a cross to bear and mine is my child, my beautiful sick child.

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Screwtape & Wormwood

I've been reading the 1942 book by C.S. Lewis, "The Screwtape Letters" ( It's an interesting book with dark humor. In this story, the narrator is a demon (Screwtape) writing a series of letters to his nephew (Wormwood) who seems to be a young and less experienced (rookie) demon whom he's instructing/advising how to tempt a man.
"Desiring their freedom, He therefore refuses to carry them, by their mere affections and habits, to any of the goals which He sets before them: He leaves them to 'do it on their own'. And there lies our opportunity. But also, remember, there lies our danger. If once they get through this initial dryness successfully, they become much less dependent on emotion and therefore much harder to tempt."
One conclusion that I've made so far from this book is God's relationship to us (not the way around). God gives us complete free will to decide to follow him or not, but if we opt to follow him, He won't abandon us.

At the same time, we're vulnerable to sin due to the same free will that God had given us.

Some of these conclusions might be obvious, but reading them in a dark comedy is really cool. Sometimes the best sermon and second-hand teachings (Jesus being the source of these real teachings) don't come from an altar.

After all, we're all ministers of faith.

Friday, June 11, 2010

The Great Ends of the Church (Reverend Scott Black Johnston)

I'm stealing a couple of lines from the senior pastor at FAPC (, Reverend Scott Black Johnston. This quote from his Friday email says a lot.
In the Presbyterian Church, our Book of Order expresses six basic convictions called "The Great Ends of the Church." We exist, Presbyterians say, to fulfill these ends, these goals, these great purposes. The six Great Ends are:
  • the proclamation of the gospel for the salvation of humankind
  • the shelter, nurture, and spiritual fellowship of the children of God
  • the maintenance of divine worship
  • the preservation of the truth
  • the promotion of social righteousness
  • the exhibition of the Kingdom of Heaven to the world

Thursday, June 10, 2010

too much for my own good

Maybe I analyze religion, its beliefs and practices too much for my own good ( Maybe my faith is based on the philosophy and sociology of Christianity more than just what my grandmother taught me as a child ( In the past almost two years that I've gone to church non-stop (08/2008 to now), I've been reading many more papers on Christianity much more than how much I used to ( It makes me wonder if I'm a "real" Christian or merely a reader of theology or simple fool lying to myself. Well only time would tell.

Nietzsche vs Gott (God)

As much as I like Kant and Huxley, I'm deeply fascinated with Friedrich Nietzsche. His criticism on Christianity was and still is dangerous as in the quote below.
"The Christian is simply a Jew of the 'reformed' confession."
- Friedrich Nietzsche, The Antichrist (1888)

Maybe this is a reason or the only reason why his writings and ideology are highly recommended for anyone interested in theology and/or philosophy. In both, the philosopher was clearly trying understand and explain the social phenomenon that we know as religion (especially Judaism, Christianity & Islam) while pointing out the errors and lies in religious practices and/or beliefs.

In the quote above, he pointed out that Christianity has its roots in Judaism (same as Islam). In other words, Christianity is a mix of Judaism and the teachings that Jesus left us.

Said the latter, the differences between the three religions of Abraham (Judaism, Christianity & Islam) are similar. What he didn't explain is why followers of one religion sometimes fight with members of the others. Maybe it's mere sibling rivalry.

Anyway philosophy (especially that of Nietzsche) is exciting and fun even when it offends us or simply makes fun of us. It forces us to think and reevaluate our core beliefs and principles, which is important if we're to dare calling ourselves "real" Christians. In conclusion, Nietzsche, the biggest critic and enemy of religion, is perhaps the best professor of religion.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Gott ist NEIN tot! (part 3): death and resurrection of the incarnation of God

One major argument that many people have (non-Christians especially) is the death and resurrection of Jesus ( These people (some friends of mine included here) ask how God could have died. They fail to understand that the incarnation (body) died and came back to life. In other words, Jesus never died (

This of course brings the argument of Christology. Is Jesus son of man (fully human) or son of God (fully God)? Give me a break! Jesus was fully human and fully God. Maybe this last concept is hard to understand for some people, but to me it's simple and clear.

God vs the crucifix

Many people have items to identify themselves as part of a group or society. In the case of Christians, some use the Bible or a crucifix or other objects. The question now is if faith and symbolism can exist hand in hand.

The Bible can easily be considered an item that identifies ourselves as Christians. The Bible is the WORD of God and only the SACRED WORD of God. At the end of the day, the Bible is merely a book.

An object like a crucifix is a symbol, which should only be a reminder and/or representation of the death and resurrection of the incarnation of God (Jesus, the Christ). In other words, an object can have a meaning and/or idea related to them (in our case, faith in God), but is NOT the meaning and/or the idea (not God). Nonetheless some treat symbols as if they were God and/or image/personification of God. This is a practice and/or belief that many groups of Christians criticize and condemn.

Going back to my question, faith and symbolism can exist together within Christianity. A person can wear a shirt saying, "God is love," as a symbol of his/her faith. Of course, that same person won't pray to the shirt. That person would pray to God -- while wearing the "God is love" shirt or not.

the downtown 3 train this morning

A friend of mine (Princess) once posted the following on Facebook.
"It never ceases to amaze me when able bodied individuals on trains do not give up their seats for the disabled, the elderly or the pregnant."

It's something that I hardly think about as I'm usually standing on my commute to work. This morning was different. The downtown 3 train that I took was fairly empty and I got a seat. A few minutes later an old woman (perhaps a lady, not important though) got on the train and no one gave her a seat. Feeling awkward, I stood up and gave her my seat.

Did I do it as a gentleman? No, I couldn't care less for that label.

Did I do it 'cause it's the Christian thing to do? No, maybe (but most likely) it was guilt.

Anyway people in this city are getting worse by the minute.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

many faces, flavors & recipes for Christianity

Christianity is one religion. Nonetheless there are numerous practices for each of the several denominations based on geographical region, language, culture or other social factors. Just in the US, there are at least nine (9) ideological practices and behaviors -- to my understanding and sole opinion -- if not more.

  1. Some Christians feel that humans are born evil and need to purge sin through religious rites and penitence to be in God's Grace with or without continuous references to the devil (Satan), demons and/or hell that seem to exploit the fear of a loving yet vengeful god (not God). This ideology makes people believe that they're dirty and gives them shame of themselves. It also makes people afraid of God instead of themselves as God's children.

  2. Considering the devil as part of Christianity, many believe that we do wrong (sin) because of temptation.

  3. Somewhat derived from the previous two ideas, there are those who practice magic using the name of God mixed with santería (ía), voodoo ( or other similar practices to cast spells (good, bad, evil eye, cleansing, curses, etc) with rites and/or chants on others. When did witchcraft and/or superstitions become a subset of Christianity? Of course, faith can expel demons, but that's a whole different story all together.

  4. At the same time, others feel that humans are good by nature and that sin tarnishes our connection to God and/or the Light of God coming from within us. Hence we're saved by faith in God alone.

  5. The previous is related to the belief that God loves us regardless of how bad we are as a father who loves his children regardless of their constant misbehavior.

  6. As part of these previous beliefs, the concept of Satan (the fallen angel who dared to question and defy God) is clearly present while worshiping. Of course, there are also those who don't believe in the devil, hell and/or the purgatory.

  7. There is also the practice or belief that priests are sent by God, hence being an extension of God on earth or simply being God's representative on earth. This is one of the most criticized aspects of the Catholic church where the pope is seen as the head of the Church and practically a holy man or saint. Well also the idea of saints who are prayed to makes little sense (if any at all). Since I was raised Catholic, I know this concept well, but I never really cared for it.

  8. At the same time, there are groups that are either inclusive allowing anyone in or exclusive "testing" people before becoming part of the congregation or member of that specific church.

  9. Some of these groups -- within any of the previously described -- force its members to surrender 10% of their earnings (tithe) regardless of their financial needs ( -- to the point that members must surrender copies of their income tax returns. Of course, some others just request it, but accept any offering may be able t give at any given time.

Nonetheless there are several beliefs and practices that are broadly common and/or accepted. One belief is that we all need to repent from our sins and offenses to God and others. Another is that faith can achieve anything since God is omnipotent without using God (#3).

In general, most subdivisions of Christianity are a mix of these and perhaps other practices and ideologies. Christianity has become a sort different flavors and recipes -- each demanding to be called the true Christian practice.

Which of all these practices is right? Which is wrong? Well this is for God alone to decide -- not for us the broken and the flawed.

What do I believe? Number three is my choice although many people surely seem to have been born evil or at least twisted beyond repair. I also believe in hell and a devil from personal experiences. In the other hand, I also believe that my maternal grandparents are in Heaven and that maternal grandfather is or was my guardian angel.

Do I believe in salvation (Heaven & life after death)? Of course, I do, but I'm not too particularly worried about this -- right now at least -- although it'd be a god thing. I prefer to have my children safe, healthy, taken care of and with God.

Am I without sin? Not at all, I'm fairly twisted (sex, political ideologies, sick sense of humor, etc) hopefully within repair.

Saturday, June 5, 2010

summer sickness

Summer is finally here. Regardless how much many people like hot weather, I truly hate it. This season makes me literally sick and nauseous all the time. I prefer fall and winter when I don't feel sick.

Now what does this have to do with the main theme of the blog? It has no thing really aside from the fact that it's my sole opinion.

demons, hell, evil, rock n' roll

I'm watching "Iron Maiden: Flight 666" ( and it brought up very bad memories of the PMRC ( and ignorance. There are idiots out there who think that rock n' roll is the devil's music. These people don't seem to understand that rockers and well as geeks have a weird sense of humor. Sometimes references to demons, hell or evil are to tell a story. In the case of this Maiden documentary that I'm referring to, dark themes only tell stories and are not an excuse to worship the devil as many idiots think. This is the same band that has poetry and quotes of the Bible in the lyrics of many songs.

Most people have short term memory especially with something so trivial as music. In the late 1980's, the PMRC was an excuse for bored wives of politicians to criticize music and feed clueless parents and society that the music their children listened to was diabolical and simply bad for children. This was a political stand that damaged many young Americans back then. Isn't it too much of a coincidence that the wife of a then-senator was the head of the PMRC and that senator later became vice-president of the US? If curious, do a Google search on the PMRC and its political ties.

I know that there are some bands that have satanic material, but we shouldn't allow one bad apple rot the whole bunch. Yes, I love rock n' roll as Joan Jett ( says in her song. I worked in the music industry for almost a decade. Yes, there's a lot of corruption and sin, but at the same time there are a lot of true artists who love their art (music) and want to create a better world.

the end of this great Christian nation, pt 3; oil spill, day 47

This blog is not about politics or the environment. Nonetheless the environment is important as a creation of God and as the home that we live in. It's day 47 of the oil spill and still no one seems to really care (

What happened to the country where people had courage based on Christian values ( Is this really the destruction of this nation and the world as a whole in the hands of uncaring politicians? This would be a disgusting way to lose our country and our world as a whole allowing oil pollution destroy the ecosystem thanks to some godless idiots in the government.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

promised suffering

There are many religious writers. One of favorites is C. S. Lewis and enjoy reading his quotes at As a matter of fact, I'm including a quote that I like and that seems very true every day of my life.
"We were promised sufferings, they were part of the program. We were even told, 'Blessed Are They That Mourn'" - C.S.Lewis

a Christian operating system (Ubuntu CE)

As I've mentioned before, I love technology and I've been an hardcore advocate of open source for over a decade. At the same time, I've criticized many technologies and supported many others. Well where am I going with this rant (as my friend Leia would say)? There are many things that consumer level technologies or popular technologies for that matter won't ever do properly. One clear example is that, if you want state-of-the-art protection for your children against all the bad things that the internet may hold, you need an operating system like Linux ( or any other derivative of Unix (

Said the latter, regardless of religious beliefs, a program like DanGuardian ( can filter undesirable material for children and anyone else using that computer system (sorry adults, no porn for you after the kids go to bed). This application can be installed and configured on "Linux, FreeBSD, OpenBSD, NetBSD, Mac OS X, Solaris or HP-UX" (

Then again, you can also get it pre-configured in Ubuntu Christian Edition (, which is basically an Ubuntu ( installation with DanGuardian and Bible study software like Xiphos (, which I use.

Ubuntu Christian Edition
Needless to say (type), DanGuardian is also available pre-configured in other variations of Ubuntu for other religions like Judaism and Islam.

By the way, these are my comments about DanGuardian and not an advertising. Of course, if the folks at DanGuardian want to give me some money, I'll gladly accept it.