Thursday, July 29, 2010

devotionals, pt. 3; a rock & roll ministry? yeah right!

I've tempted to study to become a pastor and not merely be layman ( I know websites where one can become a "minister" with a five-minute course, but I feel this is wrong. I strongly believe that a person must get a bachelor of divinity ( at least.

Being honest to myself and to God, I must admit I don't know if I could take the endeavor of divinity studies. I could take some classes to learn more about God and to better my life and that of my children, but perhaps not to become a pastor.

Besides I'd be a weird pastor playing my electric guitar through a Marshall amp whenever I could. My defective brain ( might get me trouble if I were to take such a stand. I'm too much of a (crazy, obnoxious, etc) rocker to stand in a pulpit and preach without getting enraged and probably cursing. Perhaps it's all a wrong dream.

Well for the time being, I'll continue working on technology, reading books and essays from German philosophers (Nietzsche, Kant, etc) and writing on this blog for what it's worth.

my lack of faith & my mental disease

Can it be that the problem with my lack of faith is really my defective brain? Maybe I think so much that I believe too little. Maybe I'm too stupid to have this illogical faith. Then again perhaps I'm too smart to believe in God enough.

In all, it's the constant battle between my brain and my soul, the demons in my head killing the angel that I might have been as a child (if ever), in other words the clash between good and evil in me. This just drives me crazy having two opposites in me killing each other every day. Sometimes there seems to be a truce and feel at peace, but this is rare.

Sometimes people ask if there's a Heaven or if there's a God. I've lived and felt the horror of hell in my flesh and mind. Hence I'm sure there's a God -- the Lord, His Word and His Kingdom. Nonetheless knowing that there's a God in Heaven doesn't mean I've got enough faith.

Maybe I know too much for my own good. Of course, I might just too little that I'm blinded. How could I even think about leading ( I might just be to stupid to think so.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

dog biscuits vs church wafers

The following is in response to "Canadian priest sorry for giving dog Holy Communion" (

some random German shepherd mix, not the perpetrator in this storyMany Anglicans in Toronto are making such a fuss over a Canadian priest who gave a communion wafer to a dog (not the one pictured here, on the left). There have been complaints filed at the Anglican Diocese of Toronto, people leaving the church and other nonsense. The priest even had to apologize for her sin (feeding the dog).

What's the big deal? It's only a wafer, a snack, the same product ice cream cones are made of.

As much as the wafer REPRESENTS the body of Christ during the sacrament communion (the Lord's Supper), it's NOT Christ. OUR FAITH makes it the "body" of Christ, which enters our bodies to live within. This means the wafer was merely a snack for the dog. The "body" of Christ didn't go in its belly. Then again I don't think Christ would be upset to give a dog a snack or to play with this "heretic" dog.

Some people get religion the wrong way. They don't seem to be able to separate things (like a shoe) from faith (God).

from CBN, UK Hospital Trust Proposes Bible Ban

Out of tradidion, out of faith, Bibles have been a stable of relief in hospitals. If one's dying, one has fear of God and desperately wants to be on God's good side. It's human nature, reaction and need for survival. Now there are news of a hospital in the UK saying that the dying may not have confort in the Word of God( Now this is ridiculous!

devotionals, pt. 2

I'd like to take the entries of this blog to something more than merely being wrapped around XML ( I'd like to publish this whole lot, make a difference, convert someone, teach the Word of God and practically start a ministry. It's such a big dream -- perhaps bigger than all others I've had. If we're all ministers of faith, that means that I might be half-way there, but I doubt it.

Does anyone read this blog aside from a handful of my friends at times? I haven't paid attention at the statistics or logs of this blog. I'm afraid to see that no one comes about.

Is this making anyone think? Can these words I write (type) bring anyone closer to God? I truly hope so.

Am I pure in heart and soul to teach and preach to others? No, I'm not. I've got much to learn about being some sort role model. Of course, this would mean rebuilding my whole life from its foundations, but it can be hard (not impossible) to let go of one's wrongly adopted survival instincts (anger, anxiety, lack of trust, etc). Said the latter, I don't consider myself a nice person at times although I want to be. For the time being, I can only advise those who now face the demons (suicide, self hurt, alcohol to cope with life, etc) that I've faced. Once again, answering my previous two questions, I hope I can help anyone with my experiences, sins and pains even if this is no devotional ( or collection of.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

another good quote...

another good quote that I got via Twitter (from Facebook)... so good that I had to "borrow" it!

"You won't ever find a perfect church...
perfect worship...
a perfect christian..
or perfect teaching...
you will only ever find a PERFECT GOD"

writing, commuting, writing some more

As most people in NYC, I use public transport to go places -- especially when going to and back from work. During my commute, I enjoy my time of solitude to listen to music (rock) and either read or write.

old B51 bus, NYC

As of late, I've been writing lots of material on several topics (religion especially). As a matter of fact, lots of the material in this blog has been written during my commute using my assigned BlackBerry. Said the latter, I usually end up with 5 to 10 drafts at a time -- an average of two hours of work each. As a matter of fact, I wrote this entry last Friday while returning from the DMV and I still have several drafts in my phone that I'm working on. As I mentioned, I do enjoy my time alone as I examine my innermost beliefs.

* picture taken from Flickr

broken back, broken hope, broken faith... no God?

The government promises to be there for us when we're hurt with benefits, which are paid for in advance by our eternal tax contributions. The problem especially in NYC is that the system's corrupt.

Years ago I was unemployed (9/11, the bad economy and high unemployment that followed; 2001-03), sick and broken, about to be evicted (no money for rent), with a two-year-old diagnosed with some disease that no one really know or cares about on October 2003 ( and little money to eat. When I asked for my lawful-entitled benefits as an American citizen who had worked almost 20 years by that time, I was told that I couldn't get monetary aid (welfare, food stamps, SSI, etc) because I had no job. My lack of work was the reason why I had no money. It was a stupid chicken-and-the-egg situation to be subject to.

As I mentioned, the system's corrupt and much too often abused. Why does some lazy idiot who doesn't want to work get social benefits (cash money, vouchers for rent, food stamps and everything else that I've worked hard for) that I'm entitled to, yet denied to me and my sick child?

I even considered suicide for my family to collect some level of benefits, but I was worth nothing (no monetary compensation at all). How can a person hold on to hope, to faith, to life or to anything left at all? Where was God in all this?

By the end of 2003, I was homeless with a family and a sick child to support and take care of. At least, I was finally working, but it still hurt. I was time to rebuild and start again. At the same time, hope and faith on humanity were gone, striped from me.

It's been seven years since. I had to declare bankruptcy and have worked myself up of the pit from hell we had dwelt in. Surprisingly I still hold on to this senseless and empty faith that everything will be fine one of these days.

Was this all a test from God? If so, what was the reason or purpose of it all?

Was it all some sick joke for someone to entertain? If so, whom was it for?

Will I ever get my answers? In the meantime, I'm still rebuilding everything was robbed from me and my children -- especially my boy's health.

Where was God during these dark hours? Why did he let it (unemployment, my child's decaying health, eviction, homelessness, desperation, anxiety, pain, hopelessness, etc) happen -- worse of at the same time? Most importantly, why's my little boy been sick since?

Monday, July 26, 2010

98 weeks, 98 sundays

98 weeks going to church non-stop (98 Sundays) -- such a personal record; saving every single bulletin & writing the number of the week on each one; so two more weeks for Sunday 100 celebration (if any)!

that weird thing called the canon

The Christian Bible consists of previously established Jewish texts plus texts telling the story of Jesus. Some books were excluded at will perhaps for challenging ideas or beliefs of priests of the time. Others had previously been destroyed by man, time or nature. At the same time, others were found after the canon was put together like the Dead Sea Scrolls (, which give us a good picture of Judaism about the time of Jesus. At the same time, depending what main group (Catholic, Protestant, Eastern, Eastern Orthodox, etc) you look at, the Bible may have or exclude some books.

This sort of mix-and-match process was handled under some opinion, discretion and/or will. It makes me wonder what made these people put the Bible together as it was done.

Could the word of God -- as we know it and accept as true -- be incomplete or corrupted by people of the time?

Could we missing great messages from God that some people didn't want us to know about?

what not to do, touch, see, listen, taste, smell, feel, have sex with, etc

I still have issues trying to understand what are proper or correct things to do as a Christian -- well aside from anything that breaks the Law of Moses of course.

Some would say that horror movies are not godly correct. The same has been said about music (for example, rock & roll), art (nudes, how sick), food (pork, non Kosher/Halal filth), clothes (miniskirts, oh such horror), flesh (sex, how dirty) and probably every single thing in the cosmos (including aliens in other worlds).

Considering all this, most of the universe if not all is from the devil and will trigger our eternal damnation. That means that we're surrounded by devil music, devil art, devil food, devil clothes (Halloween costumes most likely included), devil flesh (devil in the flesh) and a devil universe/reality. This assumption is absurd as you can read especially in Genesis 1:4, 1:10, 1:12, 1:18 and 1:21.

"1 In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth.
2 And the earth was without form, and void; and darkness was upon the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters.
3 And God said, Let there be light: and there was light.
4 And God saw the light, that it was good: and God divided the light from the darkness.
5 And God called the light Day, and the darkness he called Night. And the evening and the morning were the first day.
6 And God said, Let there be a firmament in the midst of the waters, and let it divide the waters from the waters.
7 And God made the firmament, and divided the waters which were under the firmament from the waters which were above the firmament: and it was so.
8 And God called the firmament Heaven. And the evening and the morning were the second day.
9 And God said, Let the waters under the heaven be gathered together unto one place, and let the dry land appear: and it was so.
10 And God called the dry land Earth; and the gathering together of the waters called he Seas: and God saw it was good.
11 And God said, Let the earth bring forth grass, the herb yielding seed, and the fruit tree yielding fruit after his kind, whose seed is in itself, upon the earth: and it was so.
12 And the earth brought forth grass, and herb yielding seed after his kind, and the tree yielding fruit, whose seed was in itself, after his kind: and God saw that it was good.
13 And the evening and the morning were the third day.
14 And God said, Let there be lights in the firmament of the heaven to divide the day from the night; and let them be for signs, and for seasons, and for days, and years:
15 And let them be for lights in the firmament of the heaven to give light upon the earth: and it was so.
16 And God made two great lights; the greater light to rule the day, and the lesser light to rule the night: he made the stars also.
17 And God set them in the firmament of the heaven to give light upon the earth,
18 And to rule over the day and over the night, and to divide the light from the darkness: and God saw that it was good.
19 And the evening and the morning were the fourth day.
20 And God said, Let the waters bring forth abundantly the moving creature that hath life, and fowl that may fly above the earth in the open firmament of heaven.
21 And God created great whales, and every living creature that moveth, which the waters brought forth abundantly, after their kind, and every winged fowl after his kind: and God saw that it was good.
22 And God blessed them, saying, Be fruitful, and multiply, and fill the waters in the seas, and let fowl multiply in the earth.
23 And the evening and the morning were the fifth day.
24 And God said, Let the earth bring forth the living creature after his kind, cattle, and creeping thing, and beast of the earth after his kind: and it was so.
25 And God made the beast of the earth after his kind, and cattle after their kind, and every thing that creepeth upon the earth after his kind: and God saw that it was good.
26 And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness: and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth.
27 So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them.
28 And God blessed them, and God said unto them, Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth, and subdue it: and have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over every living thing that moveth upon the earth."
-- Genesis 1:1-28 (KJV)

God made everything across the whole cosmos and then proclaimed it GOOD. We make things good or bad, pure or filthy. It's all in our minds and souls. Hence trying to be completely honest to ourselves and leaving our selfish prejudice aside, what's godly correct and what's not? Maybe the best answer came from a minister who told me to avoid anything that takes us away from the Light.

I guess this means that watching a gory movie with zombies and other monsters is fine as long as it doesn't affect my faith. After all that movie's merely a piece of fiction to take our minds off our problems for an hour or two (four hours in the case of Lord of the Rings) and make us laugh.

Sunday, July 25, 2010

without the spirit

Common ideology and theology can be tricky and sometimes hard to accept to say the least.

"Civilization is static unless there is spiritual movement. The soul moves the body, and the living body moves the world. We are concerned about the body, but we have no knowledge of the spirit that is moving that body. Without the spirit, the body is motionless, or dead."
-- "Science of Self Realization"
by His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada

Science of Self RealizationAfter reading this quote of one of my favorite books, most would think that the author of such book is some sort of Judeo-Christian theologian, philosopher or at least writer. The use of the word "spirit" is so loose in religion that it may refer to the Holy Spirit (Christianity), the spirit of God, a person's soul as a synonym, a ghost or other life force. Hence a Christian might conclude that the author refers to the Holy Spirit. We could understand it as, "Without the [Holy Spirit], the body is motionless, or dead."

The text above is actually from my favorite book on Krishna -- "Science of Self Realization" by His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada (

The concept of the Godhead is shared by many religions. It was actually reading this book that I understood that all living creatures exist to accomplish a common will of God.

"We living entities, being parts and parcels of God, are dutybound to serve Him."
-- "Science of Self Realization"
by His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada

This common concept explains our function in God's creation. Of course, there are other details in Krishna that don't apply to the three Abrahamic religions (Judaism, Christianity and Islam). Hence I'm not interested to talk about them here.

At the same time, in the same book we can see the common belief that we must accept God in our lives.

"God is there, and we can see Him at every moment. If we refuse to see God in our life, then He will be present before us as cruel death. If we do not choose to see Him in one feature, we will see Him in another."
-- "Science of Self Realization"
by His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada

Once again, it may feel confusing to understand that these quotes that I'm using here are Krishna -- a religion that we -- Christians -- tend to see as Pagan or even ungodly. Of course, at the end of the day there's only one God and we -- humans -- have given Him different names. Then again, Christianity may be derived from the same core concepts of a common ancient and forgotten religion or mere group of beliefs. This latter can be highly rejected by many, but understood by those who aren't too blind or stubborn.

every Sunday

Every Sunday morning, I meet with a minister right before worship. We talk about what I've done the previous week, what's bothering me and such. Sometimes I look forward to it, but mostly not. Nonetheless I must give credit to this minister who helps me every Sunday morning. She's got lots of patience to deal with me and my weirdness.

Anyway it's been part of my routine for over a year and a half if not longer. I know it's helped me the same way talking to a psychologist helps others (piece of mind) if not more (mind & soul). Nonetheless it hasn't made me a more likable individual as I still have problems getting along with others.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

just a little quote that I just got on Facebook

just a little quote that I just got on Facebook from New Living Translation (

"We are God's masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago."
-- Ephesians 2:10 (NLT)

politics & God, pt 2

In the past couple of months, I've joined The Tea Party ( I've also started to follow more conservative media.

Maybe there's a much stronger relation between conservative/republican politics and Christianity than I originally though ( Then again I might have joined this conservative/religion bandwagon without noticing it.

Anyway I've noticed that politics is getting crazy as of late with the increasing disapproval of this president that we have right now. I'm glad I didn't vote for this guy. Just look at Twitter and the hash tag #TPP, for example.

Christian, plain and simple

I was raised Catholic, but now I go to a Presbyterian church. Does this still mean that I'm Catholic? If not, does this now make me a Presbyterian or at least a Protestant of some sort?

All I know and hence care about is that I'm a Christian. My faith (or lack of, much too many times) doesn't change depending on the sign or label at the door of a given house of worship.

Anyway (as if anyone cares), I started going to a Presbyterian church because the persons delivering the sermon spoke plain English -- not some Shakespearean rendition of a mass or tales of eternal damnation. I didn't have to guess what these pastors from an altar were trying to communicate to the people on the pews. The most shocking thing was actually hearing jokes, laughing and even applauding after any beautiful performance (choir, solo soprano or baritone, children recital, etc). These were little details that are still new and exciting to me. After all, shouldn't we all feel thrilled and engaged during worship?

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

devotionals... Our Father which art in heaven...

It seems that to write a devotional one has to take some text of the Bible and analyze it. If this is true, I'll give it a shot.

9 After this manner therefore pray ye: Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name.
10 Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven.
11 Give us this day our daily bread.
12 And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors.
13 And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil: For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever. Amen.
-- Matthew 6:9-13 (KJV)

This is the Lord's Prayer -- one of the two sacraments given to us by Jesus. It's followed by two verses that emphasize Matthew 6:12.

12 And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors.
-- Matthew 6:12 (KJV)

This means that one has to forgive others for God to forgive them. At the same time one has to be forgiven by others in order for God to forgive us.

14 For if ye forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you:
15 But if ye forgive not men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.
-- Matthew 6:14-15 (KJV)

This is a rule or obligation that I constantly heard growing up Catholic. It seems to be the main objective to accomplish before dying. All sins that are not forgiven would stay with that individual forever. One has to be good to men and to God. When we sin, we should REPENT and ASK GOD FOR FORGIVENESS to those we've sinned against and to God. At the same time, we must forgive others or their sins would stay with them forever.

Perhaps this is the reason why Catholics tell a priest all their sins for someone to forgive them. For what it's worth, I never felt comfortable telling a priest my sins for him to tell me to repeat some prayer whatever number of times. After a while, the senseless repetition and charade gets old. This is one of the main differences between Catholics and Protestants.

Said the latter, I might have turned out to be a Protestant after all. Of course, this doesn't mean that I'm pure or sinless in any way. I've made to many bad things (deeds, choices, etc) to remember or that I care to write on this blog.

One detail that I must point out is that in prayer or sermon, I don't agree with anyone telling that I'll rot in hell for my sins. I find this too negative. It also takes the focus off God, His glory and His kingdom.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

friends from other books

As a continuation of I wanted to emphasize that distance doesn't always mean geographical position of two object or persons.

After living abroad about one third of my life and living in NYC for the other two thirds, not all my friends are Christian of whatever denomination.

For example, my friends I-An and I-Chun (sisters) are Buddhist.

Coto is atheist or so he calls himself. After all, his wife is Christian (Catholic perhaps).

Julian is non-practicing Jew and married to a non-practicing Christian.

Several of my friends are Muslim. As a matter of fact, my friend Sheila converted to Islam after spending most of her life as a Christian.

Of course, many are Christian although they don't practice their faith. If they do, it might be limited to several times a year.

After a while, religion is not too important when making friends for life. Nonetheless I must admit that some (if not all) the friends whom I've made in church might be my friends ( for the rest our lives.

friends from afar

I sometimes think how strange a simple fact of my life (and that of many, for that matter) is and/or can be. In the 39 years I've lived on this earth, I've made many friends and met many times as many other people. Some of my friends have traveled in many directions since, moving from one side of the world to the other.

For example, Anna moved back to TX after living like a decade in NYC.

Christine moved Seattle, WA, after living in NYC for several years.

Coto moved to his native Chile with his family. Dency and Gina also moved to Chile to accept separate jobs (weird coincidence). That's three of the elementary/high school gang spread though out Chile.

Dina (NY born and bred) moved to Israel.

Eileen lives in NJ and recently moved further in that state -- a little over an hour away from NYC.

I-An first moved Australia and then back in her native Taiwan. Her sister I-Chun in the other hand moved to San Francisco, CA.

Julian first moved back to his native Argentina, then to Seattle and recently to Iceland.

July and Cachi moved to FL -- the same state where my grandfather moved close to two decades ago.

Lisby moved to Sweden where her husband is from.

Sandra might be moving to NC this fall.

Tony (my best friend in elementary school) moved to Lebanon after the sixth grade.

Yanny moved to VA with her husband and children. By the way, her sister Gaby also moved there.

Of course, there are many others, but I can't recall them all right now.

Meanwhile I moved back to NYC where I lived as a child and surprisingly the youngest of my two sisters (18 months older than I) moved to Spain several years ago.

I also have "pen pals" in Britain and Italy (where my great grandfather was born).

It's funny and interesting how we can all use technology (internet and email, especially) to keep in touch and still make fun of one another. There's no way the constant and mutual teasing was ever going to stop.

At the end of the day, we're all nomads making the whole world our playground without limits of any kind. As long as we have our technology and gadgets, we seem to be happy.

not good for your brain!

Taking five little words that my friend George wrote to me last night when I told him that I've "been going to church for 97 weeks straight."

George simply responded, "not good for your brain!"

For a person born into an Italian and Catholic family, his mind's very closed to religion.

It doesn't surprise me. Many people see religion as a waste of time or the incorrect way to God. I've asked many friends and relatives about going to church. They often ask me why they should considering that he/she IS A GOOD PERSON.

DC vs Marvel vs Image vs Dark Horse vs God

Comic books are an American institution -- though adopted by many people around the world. Most (if not all) children like them and has at least one comic book hero.

On a personal note, my all-time favorite character is The Batman (DC; Others include The Hulk (Marvel;, Spawn (Image; and Hellboy (Dark Horse; In all, I like dark and troubled characters.

Spider-Man (Marvel) is my 9-year-old's all-time favorite character. He likes Marvel super heroes rather than those from other publishers. Nonetheless my son and I watch The Batman and other super heroes cartoons/animation on TV.

Why am I writing an entry on comic books? Well in this godless society of ours, we still have religion or religious overtones in these stories. Although we (the readers) are never told what religion each character believes in. Nonetheless we can assume they represent some level of Judeo-Christian ( beliefs and principles since most of the creators of these characters followed or were brought either with Jewish or Christian values or beliefs.

For example, Crosses (representation of Christ) and staring at the sky (Heaven) in grief or pain are common in comic books. At the same time, more than one character has said "God" instead of "Gosh" (so politically correct and absurd). Some authors have even thrown in verses of Bible in their stories.

Comics were even used as propaganda during America's darkest hours. In these editions of several comics, super heroes have emphasized old American values like this being God's land or that this nation's protected by God.

Of course, the idea that this (sole) nation's protected by God might be a little too conceited. Yet the idea that this was and hopefully still is a Christian nation's most predominant. This core value's still promoted in comics either to sell these books or simply as for tradition.

Go to for lots and lots of information on this topic and to for a list of super heroes with their religious beliefs.

Monday, July 19, 2010

every now and then...

Every now and then, I find a quote that I like.

"People may go to a weekend service faithfully, but if they never connect to a small group, their spiritual growth stagnates."
2 days ago from web

This is one thing that I noticed when I started going back to church. I joined several small groups and took several Bible study classes. It just felt good.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

happy 9th birthday, my little boy, my sick child as you keep running against time

As I mentioned a little back ago (, my second child (9) has been sick most if not all of his life. It's been a constant race against time to find a cure for whatever he really has (diagnosed with this and that, yet still unknown and hence incurable) before he gets any older.

He deserves to live a "normal" life and enjoy a "normal" childhood. Needless to say, I'd give my life or my health for him to be healthy. If it were so easy, I'd have done it a while ago.

I guess I can only continue looking for the right doctor and the right therapy, reading about new cures and therapies while praying and holding to an empty faith. I often wonder if I've done something so bad that I must now pay with my little boy's health and life -- some twisted form of punishment that slowly robs my son's life.

The pain and desperation of seeing my little boy helplessly sick was one of reasons that brought me back to God ( If this was the reason for my child to be unhealthy (so many doctors, so many hospitals, so much medicine that has done more damage than good if any good at all), the purpose was fulfilled. Yet he's still plagued with medical conditions.

These past eight years or so have been hard to bear -- some days much more than others. I hope God gives me the strength not to lose my cool and be able to be the father my little boy needs.

"I have had patients of my own so well in hand that they could be turned at a moment's notice from impassioned prayer for a wife's or son's 'soul' to beating or insulting the real wife or son without a qualm."
CS Lewis, The Screwtape Letters

At the end of the day, he'd fall asleep in my arms as he usually does and give me a hard time to go to school or therapy the following morning.

At the end of the day, I love my little boy and will take care of him even after I die -- making plans and preparations for something I wish I'd never have to rely on.

Then again perhaps I should take the following message from a dear friend of mine.

"Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past. See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the desert and streams in the wasteland."
-- Isaiah 43:18-19, NIV

Nonetheless I just can't leave it in God's hands. I must try all possible solutions, therapies and/or cures. I just pray for God to guide me to the correct solution, therapy and cure. I know God will deliver, but I don't know when or what.

* Enjoy your birthday, my little monkey. Daddy loves you now and always.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Coptic art

Coptic  iconI've always liked Coptic art ( as the graphic on the right, which I don't recall where I originally found it. There's something in the way that Jesus and others are painted that looks somewhat surreal. As a matter of fact, one day I might just go to an Orthodox ( service just of curiosity.

summer rain (thanks be to God)

It's raining this morning and fairly cool. The weather's much better (a cool 75°F, almost a 30° difference, very nice!) than what it was about a week ago ( I wish all summer could be like this morning without the nasty humidity and the infernal heat. Of course, many people prefer the heat -- but definitely not me.

Monday, July 12, 2010

temple of coffee & bagels

coffee & bagel
We, Christians, love to eat and drink coffee. Most churches have a coffee hour after service. This coffee and bagel time is usually to meet and mingle, get to know others in the congregation, make friends and for fellowship. It's also a great excuse to grab a quick bite.

In all, it's an interesting experience that I never had growing up. If I'd have, I might have been exposed to the concept of being one in Christ and fellowship. I actually grew up in an environment of individuals or group of individuals (family and/or friends) going to a common church with little to no intention whatsoever to meet others.

writing for the sake of writing

I've been writing lots of material for the sake of writing ( Maybe it's my desperate attempt to achieve something or simply prove something to someone -- myself perhaps. Nonetheless writing lots of material makes me a better Christian or person for that matter. Anyway the question remains then. Why am I writing for the sake of writing? Maybe I'm so bored that I need to kill time writing.

hash tag #Christianity

I've been playing around with Twitter ( for a while now. In Twitter, one can search posts based on content (Christianity), key words (#Christianity) or user names (@project05952381).

Said this, some users including myself use the hash tag #Christianity to indicate that a given post deals with Christianity. Hence it's displayed when the word "Christianity" is searched for (Christianity).

So far in Twitter, I've found 87 religious users (people or organizations, as of 07/12/2010 12:06pm) that I'm interested in following (

cold, tasteless spaghetti

Some churches still have soup kitchens in NYC. This form of outreach ministry helps many men, women and children with hot meals that they'd otherwise not have. This is the side of NYC and America that we turn a blind eye to and that tourists prefer not to see or never really do.

Growing up (1984), my parents ran into some monetary issues and we ended up asking for free non-perishable foods like canned vegetables and dry milk from different churches including the Riverside Church (, which would send you home with two bags of groceries only once a week. It was quite embarrassing for me at the time to be the subject of this charity.

There was this church somewhere in Manhattan where one day my father and I ended up eating cold spaghetti with hot tomato sauce. We were surrounded with homeless and much more needy individuals. You might call this a crash course in humility. I'd like to go back to this church to have a plate of cold spaghetti with tomato sauce once again. Unfortunately I've got no idea what church this was.

At the same time, the Riverside Church ( and its charity will always have a special part of my heart and soul. This church was there for me when I could have been hungry.

In all, this is what Christian churches were like in the early 1980's. Nowadays it's much more different with tighter budgets, lawsuits and other obstacles. Nonetheless some churches and religious organizations still offer this form of outreach ministry -- Fifth Avenue Presbyterian Church (, Jackson Heights Seventh-day Adventist Church (, the Bowery Mission ( and others (

Perhaps we should all serve a soup kitchen at least once and share a meal with those in more need that we could ever be.

politics & God

Since I started to read more and more about religion, I've seen a close relation between conservative ideology and core Christian beliefs. It seems that every conservative -- Republican (, Tea Party ( or other group -- mentions God and/or being Christian at least once in his/her career.

One of the better examples is Sarah Palin ( On her bid for vice-president of the US (2008), she stood up as a Christian and a family woman. As a former governor of Alaska, she was able to talk about what she had done for her state, but her faith and family values were her biggest assets.

Most conservatives have little to no problem at all mentioning God or Christianity. It's become the norm. Now this is rather strange nowadays in this nation that has become so uncomfortable about its Christian heritage.

Another good example is Sara Evans ( -- one of favorite country singers -- who's been fairly outspoken about her political (conservative) views and her faith.

As a matter of fact, many (if not all) country singers are Christian and have mentioned God in at least one song. Perhaps the belief in God is what make them conservative and fairly vocal about politics.

On a personal note (much too shared by conservatives), I'm proud (ironically pride being a deadly sin) to be a Christian on this godless land and a conservative (registered Republican). As I've mentioned before, being Christian by no means that I'm perfect yet continue to strife for that perfection.

Of course, I must point out that believing in God doesn't make a person good. His/her heart and actions make him/her good.

my writing

I've written poetry and prose on various topics from music and technology to violence and graphic sex for over two decades.

I've usually had religious concepts in my stories and poems. As a matter of fact, I've used some of the same religious characters -- including a priest -- over and over in my stories. Although these have been minor characters, I've used them to bring the good on the other characters even when jumping from one story to another. From a practical point of view, these characters tie in all the stories together (most of which based in NYC), but at the end of the day this is all fiction.

Religion is such a harder topic to write about. I write about my feelings, pains, doubts and some other details about my broken faith. Hence writing this blog can probably one of the hardest and yet most soul-baring things I've ever done.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

saying goodbye to a friend, pt 2

My friend Paul had his last sermon at FAPC this morning ( Several of us were teary-eyed during his goodbye sermon. After worship, we celebrated his service and call as associate pastor for six years at FAPC (two of which I've attended this church) over coffee and cake.

At the same time, my friend Christine -- also from church -- left NYC to Seattle. She's right now somewhere in the midwest as she's traveling by car and visiting family (a long road trip and vacation at the same time).

As with most friends, it's hard to say goodbye. Yet we'll all remain friends an email or phone call away.

Friday, July 9, 2010

just another quote...

another quote that I like, also from the Geneva Bible (1599)... no good reason to post, other than liking it...

16 And he made all, both small and great, rich and poore, free and bond, to receiue a marke in their right hand or in their foreheads,
17 And that no man might buy or sell, saue hee that had the marke, or the name of the beast, or the number of his name.
18 Here is wisdome. Let him that hath wit, count the number of the beast: for it is the number of a man, and his number is sixe hundreth threescore and sixe.
- Revelation of John 13:17-18 (Geneva Bible, 1599)

Geneva Bible (1599)

The English language has changed in the past four centuries or so (well 411 years to be precise).

For the past three weeks, I've been reading (or trying to read and make sense of) the Bible brought to the Americas by the Pilgrims -- the Geneva Bible of 1599 ( It all started as a comment from a minister when we were talking about the different translations of the Bible and all the possible errors that these translations might have as the result of erroneous interpretations. As usual, I got curious.

For this little project that I decided to take, I installed the Geneva1599 module ( on Xiphos (the Bible study program that I currently use; This way I can read this version of the Bible side-by-side with other versions -- like KJV (1759) and WEB -- in order to have a guideline to the language used then -- many differences in the spelling of words (like "euill" instead of "evil").

my current layout of Xiphos with Geneva1599, KJV & WEB

For a better idea of what I mean regarding the possible errors in translations or interpretations, I'm including one of my favorite quotes of the Bible -- Psalms 23:1-6.

1 A Psalme of David. The Lord is my shepheard, I shall not want.
2 He maketh me to rest in greene pasture, and leadeth me by the still waters.
3 He restoreth my soule, and leadeth me in the paths of righteousnesse for his Names sake.
4 Yea, though I should walke through the valley of the shadowe of death, I will feare no euill: for thou art with me: thy rod and thy staffe, they comfort me.
5 Thou doest prepare a table before me in the sight of mine aduersaries: thou doest anoynt mine head with oyle, and my cuppe runneth ouer.
6 Doubtlesse kindnesse and mercie shall follow me all the dayes of my life, and I shall remaine a long season in the house of the Lord.
- Psalms 23:1-6 (Geneva Bible, 1599)

Without a doubt, the language used then is beautiful. It delivers the word of God with the proper drama and visuals.

Of course, the comparison between versions makes me wonder how mutilated, mutated, wrong and changed the original Word of God -- written in Aramaic, Hebrew and Greek; translated to Latin then to German -- is in comparison to the Word that we currently have and hold as true. Perhaps this is the reason why we have many translations of the Bible in English -- not to mention the whole lot of translations and interpretations in all other languages worldwide.

ministry of mine?

I can understand concepts like string theory (in which every decision we make creates a parallel universe; hence multiple realities existing;, but religious concepts can be difficult to understand.

For example, if we're all ministers of faith, I guess I'm a minister by definition. That's a strange concept for me to grasp. After all, I understand (1) that a minister should propagate the Word of God and spread the Good News of the Kingdom of Heaven and (2) that the word "minister" isn't limited to the person heading a given congregation -- reverend, pastor, priest, vicar, rector or any similar term.

Said all this, am I doing my "job" well or at all as a minister of faith -- especially teaching my children or to others about God, religion or theology?

Further more, do I have enough faith to do any of these tasks or am I a simple salesman of an empty belief and faith?

As the expression goes, only time will tell, but I doubt it. By the way, does doubt mean lack of faith? Oh well, I guess I still have lots to learn -- much more than I thought.

no vision

Renee Johnson (@faithbookjesus)My friend Renee just put this quote on her Twitter account (@faithbookjesus).

Where there is no vision, the people perish.
Proverbs 29:18

As usual these little quotes from the Bible can be deep and rich.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

saying goodbye to a friend

Paul Thomas Rock & family

This coming Sunday (07/11/2010), Fifth Avenue Presbyterian Church ( says goodbye to one of the pastors -- Paul Thomas Rock ( He's going to Kansas City to become senior pastor at Second Presbyterian Church (

He's a good friend and now he's gone off to another part of the country to teach another congregation the Good News. We'll miss him and his family.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Dr Michio Kaku on God

As much as I believe in God, I like science and especially physics. These are two points of view on every possible thing on this universe.

I like this short video of Dr Kiki Sanford ( interviewing Dr Michio Kaku ( on the topic of God.

It's interesting when you try to prove your religious beliefs with science.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

hell on earth, 102°F NYC

The common idea of hell is fire, brimstone, eternal suffering and the Devil as its master and host. This image of suffering and damnation goes back to the Kingdom of Hades in Roman/Greek mythology and even as far the Underworld in the time of the pharaohs. The image of fire and brimstone comes from multiple verses in the Bible.

Anyway NYC today was hell on earth with fire and brimstone (heat of 102°F and 100% humidity), suffering (dangerous conditions for people with asthma or other respiratory ailments, small children and the elderly), but no devil other than the heat and humidity.

Taking the subway -- other than taking the bus system -- was no easy task. It was like descending to the guts of hell. At least most subway cars -- and buses for that matter -- have a working air conditioning system. Of course, air conditioning doesn't mean anything when the subway car or bus is crowded due to the increased production of CO2 and body heat.

Summer time is this city can be brutally hot and humid. Yet the only thing worse than the heat and humidity is the smell of sweat on oneself and others.

leaving one's comfort zone

Ben Snipes ( I know from church, Ben, is going to Kenya ( on a mission through Presbyterian Church (USA) ( and Church World Service (

Leaving one's comfort zone to engage in a humanitarian project is something that I can admire. Nonetheless I know I wouldn't do it and I could come up with hundreds of excuses not to do it.

Take a look at his blog ( where Ben will write about his experiences in Kenya. He's currently asking for small donations to come up with $4500 that he still needs for this mission trip. If you can, go to his site and click on the first link on the right of the page, which should take you to the General Assembly Mission Council ( website. If you have any questions, contact Ben Snipes (

As I mentioned, Ben's trip is something I can admire and this is the only reason why I'm helping him out.

Monday, July 5, 2010

an empty envelope, stale bread and grape juice (not wine)

For some (if not most) churches, yesterday was Communion Sunday. On such occasion, we take a piece of stale bread and dip it in grape juice (representation of wine) to celebrate the victory over sin from the Christ and the feast that God has for us in Heaven.

Yesterday was also Independence Day and we celebrated our freedom over oppression (or lack of liberty, to say it in a nicer way). It was a double celebration for Christians as we sang Christian national hymns like "America the Beautiful" as I remember singing as a small child in elementary school.

As much as we're free, lots are poor and most of us simply struggle to survive financially in this land of riches, the brave and the free. Nonetheless, holding on to our faith, we go to church to find God or for spiritual shelter. Yet we feel bad at times not to be able to give back the "fruit of our labors" as much or at all. Hence our offering envelopes contain less than our 10% or are cowardly empty.

How can it be that some go to bed hungry? How can we do nothing when political agendas take our freedoms, our rights, our benefits when poor or unemployed or disabled and especially our faith away? While trying not to insult groups of individuals, we're allowing some idiots kill this great Christian nation many times over and over.

Yet we return every Sunday (or as often as we can or feel the need to do so) to church to find shelter in God and drown our numerous pains. Once again we reach in deep in our pockets just to fill another empty offering and sit in shame -- even as we know that God would still welcome us with open arms regardless of our riches or lack of. Most troubling, we again hold on to our empty faith as we fail to remember that we're now living in a land where it's almost illegal to say the name of God in public (

Saturday, July 3, 2010

patriotism, drinking, self destructive behavior, hurt & no God

According to Wikipedia ( the following is the concept of patriotism.

Patriotism is love and devotion to one's country. The word comes from the Greek patris, meaning fatherland. Patriotism, however, has had different meanings over time, and its meaning is highly dependent upon context, geography, and philosophy. Although patriotism is used in certain vernaculars as a synonym for nationalism, nationalism is not necessarily considered an inherent part of patriotism. Among the ancient Greeks, patriotism consisted of notions concerning language, religious traditions, ethics, law, and devotion to the common good, rather than pure identification with a nation-state. Scholar J. Peter Euben writes that for the Greek philosopher Socrates, "patriotism does not require one to agree with everything that his country does and would actually promote analytical questioning in a quest to make the country the best it possibly can be."

In the Hindu epic Ramayana, Lord Rama tells Lakshmana Janani Janma Bhoomischa Swargadapi Gariyasi (Mother and Motherland are greater than heaven), which greatly lays the foundation for consciousness of patriotism for Hindus.

During the 18th century Age of Enlightenment, the notion of patriotism continued to be separate from the notion of nationalism. Instead, patriotism was defined as devotion to humanity and beneficence. For example, providing charity, criticizing slavery, and denouncing excessive penal laws were all considered patriotic. In both ancient and modern visions of patriotism, individual responsibility to fellow citizens is an inherent component of patriotism.

Many contemporary notions of patriotism are influenced by 19th century ideas about nationalism. During the 19th century, "being patriotic" became increasingly conflated with nationalism and even jingoism. However, some notions of contemporary patriotism reject nationalism in favour of a more classic version of the idea of patriotism which includes social responsibility.

It's a farce for some and die-hard reality for many. Yet this is a feeling that I've never experienced -- not even during war. This lack of pride has made me a foreigner wherever I've lived. I haven't been able to fit in the general mold.

At the same time, this might be reason for the culture clash I've had several times and especially the suicidal desperation that I endured during high school. Maybe I can blame all this to my drinking, self-destructive behavior, self-harm, suicide attempts (always stopping right in time not to die) and over all pain from peer-pressure and especially high school. Adding the fact that I've been diagnosed with ADHD along with other disorders (, I'd have the perfect excuse to have been the worst student in high school while college became a total different story (A student on every subject but statistics).

One of the few things that helped me then were my music (, my then-friend Mary Lou who introduced to reading the Bible (such a weird concept at the time) and finding God at least for a little while.

Thursday, July 1, 2010

oh mercy oh god happy-pill!

Most of us have all felt that we don't belong in the Kingdom of the Lord. We opt for different solutions to solve the pain that we have, that void in our lives and soul, that lack of soul. Sometimes we use illegal (street) drugs or prescription drugs (prescribed to us, not to someone else) to fill that void. We go to a psychiatrist who fills us with chemicals to regulate some other chemicals in our brains or somewhere else in our decaying bodies. At this point, we've only become carcasses searching for something -- whatever that something is.

I can say "we" since I've taken medicine to fill my void and scare the demons in my head. For the past two years or so, that void has diminished, but not completely gone away. Of course, I might explain that I've been diagnosed with manic depression (bipolar disorder). I do need medicines to balance out the chemistry of my brain. There could be nothing worse than a depressed person with a broken brain and no God. I'm glad to be alive although sometimes I do get ideas of suicide. These are the times when I hold on to the love that I have for my children and the faith that God will make everything right. I'm a broken man, a sinner, a stupid man looking for peace and God.

Why am I writing this? Well those suicidal thoughts returned today. There's no other reason.

* My metaphors merely express the pain that I've felt -- the same pain others have felt.