Wednesday, January 26, 2011

The Christian Noob

So I’ve changed the name of my blog once again — from “Shopping for Faith” to “Le Culte du Cassette” to “Project 0.5952381%” to “The Christian Noob.” Considering that a noob is anyone new to some particular environment, perhaps it’s a good idea to start calling myself a religious or (Christian (being more precise) noob. After all when it comes to religion, I’ve studying for over two years non-stop and there’s so much more to understand still.

With my most recent overhaul, I’ve moved from Blogger to WordPress. The latter’s a platform that I’ve been looking into for past several months and to which I recently migrated two huge projects that I’m in charge of (about a hundred files each). From a geek’s point of view, these technologies aren’t new, but they’ve proved to be reliable. Hence I decided to move these two major projects to a platform that so far has proven to help me manage the amount of written information they’ve collected for several years.

In all, this is my new little home in the web — and you’re welcome to join me.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

just writing...

just writing poetry
that I might never publish,
what a sham!

Monday, January 24, 2011

hominids, humanoids & humans

The word hominid refers to any great ape (likely to be considered a primitive form of human), while the word humanoid means that something resembles a human. Understanding these two concepts, we're curious to understand what a human really is -- aside from merely referring to humans as naked apes.

Some would say that the human animal comes from homo erectus who became homo habilis who then became homo sapiens. As a person of science, I understand and believe this.

The problem comes when science crashes with the Bible. The Abrahamic faiths teach us that we -- humans -- were created by God in his image. As a Christian, I know and believe this too.

I once asked a science teacher (sixth grade) who/what came first -- dinosaurs or Adam and Eve. I wasn't trying to push religion or any other belief. It was merely an innocent, naive and stupid question to ask within the NYC public school system. Needless to say (type), two and half decades later, I'm still waiting for an intelligent answer.

On a personal level, I've never been able to combine these two concepts and come up with an intelligent answer of my own. Of course, I haven't seen anyone else do so. The best attempt someone had trying to combine these two theories was drawing out a fairly simple mathematical equation that proved that God created the cosmos and mankind in seven days as the Bible says, but each day was equal to some fixed amount of time other than a twenty-four-hour time period. I remember watching this on the 700 Club back in 1992. Unfortunately I don't remember the name of this theologian and I haven't been able to find this information ever since.

At the end of the day or rather times, I guess we should answer (ourselves at least) these two questions.

  1. Are we just stupid naked apes making up the concept and stories of gods in order to explain what we don't understand (life, death, etc)?
  2. Then again, did God test different creations till he decided that we were good enough to continue existing (at least for the time being)?

Sunday, January 23, 2011

rants: fire & brimstone

According to the program "Gates of Hell" on the History Channel, different societies have believed that the entrance to hell's here on earth -- emphasizing on the three-tier belief adopted by Christianity that Heaven's above us (sky), earth's where we live and hell's underneath us (magma, center of earth).

One thing that emphasized on this two-hour program's that Christianity's based lots of its traditions (scaring, converting people, etc) in the concept of damnation (fire, punishment in the flesh, eternal suffering, etc; yet psychological torture hardly mentioned).

I've got no doubt that hell exists. I believe that I've gone through the horror of hell many times in my life and come back just to feel them many times again (

Nonetheless I don't think it's a place underneath the earth's crust. I believe that it's a spiritual place where souls are tortured.

what little faith I've got (today)...

I don't feel the same faith I had about a year ago. I've got lots of doubts about this belief system we call Christianity, its Jewish heritage and anything referred to as divine. Nonetheless I nominated myself for the position of deacon at church this past week. To my surprise, this morning someone asked me if he could nominate me too. Could it be that I'm worthy of some level of religious trust (

Saturday, January 22, 2011

NASK 2011

So I just received an invitation to attend NASK (La Nord-Amerika Somera Kursaro de Esperanto, 2011, but I can't make it (money, travel, time, etc). If I could, it'd be a blast to geek out.

1 John 1:8-9

I've heard this words many times and I hadn't realized it's in the Gospels. I've got read/study the Bible more.

If we claim we have no sin, we are only fooling ourselves and not living in the truth. But if we confess our sins to him, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all wickedness. (1 John 1:8-9 NLT)

Friday, January 21, 2011

rants: good bread vs bad bread

fresh baked bread

I think it's really stupid that a loaf of mass-produced bread loaded with preservatives and artificial ingredients costs as much as a small bakery fresh bread. Hence I prefer to buy a loaf from a small bakery with better taste and quality, which also means that it'd rot in under a week (no preservatives).

rants: trembling hands

I wrote the following early last night (not edited, as if anyone cared).

"Anxiety's kicking me in the teeth right now. My right hand's trembling while my left remains fairly still. I'm in a much too crowded place and I don't feel calm at all -- regardless how much I try to keep my mind busy."

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

my son's first ever seizure, maybe just fever

On Monday night (well actually early in the morning, about 2:30pm), parts of my nine-year-old son's upper body kept contracting while he was sleeping as slight muscle reflexes or spasms. His body temperature was fairly high (fever), but he wasn't sweating. It could've merely been an allergic reaction to eating some Italian bread made from wheat (mere wishful thinking) or to some bug that he could've caught in the hospital ( In either case, I'm worried and close to falling into another rut of depression.

To avoid further surprises, I had my son stay home for the past two days (not that he'd put a fight for missing school). Yesterday morning, he was in bed doing nothing (much too odd for such a hyperactive child), with the TV on but rather just looking out the window. This latter behavior's similar to what he experienced right after his first seizure ( I just can't tell if he suffered another seizure, due to my lack of experience in this field, but I truly hope not. Last night, he still had a fever, but it'd dissipated considerably by early this morning.

My youngest child (2) started with a similar reaction (fever) last night. Maybe my boys did catch some bug with a 48-hour incubation period somewhere.

Needless to say (type), I've just gone through two more sleepless nights and hence running on pure adrenaline for the past two days. I'm surprised I'm not dead yet. Of course, I can't afford to die leaving my children behind. Life's a bitch and I've got no choice but to deal with it.

my first child, an adult child

My oldest son's nineteen and has finished high school. My boy's an adult now. I still remember holding him in my arms at two or three in the morning singing him a lullaby that I wrote for him.

"You don't need to cry, my baby [...]
You don't need to cry ever again,
As your daddy will take your pain away."
- all rights reserved, 1991 (edited)

Now he's an adult, a young adult, with a girlfriend and a life ahead. It just feels weird.

Having divorced my son's mother has kept him away from me. I haven't been by his side for some of his most important moments like his first words.

As much as I miss him with all my life, I admit not being the best father for him ( As I've stated many times, I love my child and he's the only who can judge me for my faults affecting him.

yukky, yukky boogers

On a lighter note, my youngest child had the great idea of putting Play-Doh up his right nostril. Of course, he started to cry. I just covered his mouth and left nostril forcing the air in his lungs as he cried to push the Play-Doh out of his nose (same principle as blowing one's nose, using compressed air from the lungs to push mucus from the nostrils). At the same time, I was joking with him -- telling him that he had "yukky, yukky boogers" -- to make him laugh.

my son's first ever seizure, day of EEG day

As I thought, my son didn't want to cooperate with the EEG ( We couldn't do much about it to convince him and/or control him. There's just too little that can be done to convince and/or persuade a scared child who maybe didn't quite understand what was going on.

The technician had to stop trying to put the electrodes on my son's head. She then suggested to have him sedated before the EEG ( as originally suggested by one of the two neurologists we're working with.

It was a waste of time and now we'll just have to reschedule the EEG.

In all, I'm still jumpy and worried although less than half a month ago. Maybe I've grown used to the possibility that my child may develop more medical conditions.

The appointment for a sedated routine EEG that we originally had was canceled because the hospital didn't want sedate him for being a young child. The second appointment was supposed to include a 48-hour observation period (hospital intake), but changed to a routine EEG without sedation, which my son obviously didn't want to cooperate with. A third appointment must now be scheduled to have him sedated prior to the EEG.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

goodbye snow, hello ice

Right now, the atmospheric conditions are perfect for sleet (ice), which makes the streets and sidewalks slippery. I had to walk on the new layer of soft ice built on the left over frozen snow in order not to fall. In a place like Queens County, where sanitation and other city trucks clean the snow late, this means trouble and high probability of falling flat on one's ass.

Monday, January 17, 2011

lost in Brooklyn

I live in Queens and work in Manhattan. Hence I rarely go to any other borough (county) in the city. Said all this, I had to go to Boro Park and I was practically lost. To make the experience a bit more uncomfortable, it's a 99.9999% Orthodox and/or Hasidic Jewish neighborhood and most people wear black clothes and hats (tradition that I'm barely familiar with). Meanwhile I stood out like a sore thumb in my black sport shoes, dark gray pants, blue shirt and sweater, black jacket and dark gray knit cap. I normally don't have care in the world how odd I often look, but this was different. I hadn't felt so awkwardly out of place since high school (a bit past two decades). It was a case of wrong colors, wrong set of traditions, wrong set of beliefs, in short the wrong society. At least, the bakeries in the area have deliciously fresh Challah bread like Kaff's (718-633-2600, worth a plug).

Thursday, January 13, 2011

the "Don't Walk By!" campaign

I'm posting some information that I received this morning, which the author gladly accepted my request to post it.

Don't Walk By is a campaign run by a partnership of faith-based ministries called The Rescue Alliance. On five consecutive Saturdays (January 8 through February 5), teams of volunteers will walk through different parts of Manhattan in an effort to engage people who may need a hot meal, shower or bed for the night. In addition to the street outreach effort, volunteers are also needed to greet guests, prepare or serve meals, sort through clothing, and assist in other ways at the host church for each of the evenings.

To read more details about the campaign or to volunteer on one of the remaining four Saturdays, please visit

If you would like to ask questions of someone from FAPC who has participated in this outreach effort, please contact

Street outreach volunteers are especially needed for Feb. 5.

my son's first ever seizure, constant fear

It's been about six weeks since my son had a seizure ( I still feel a high level of panic when I see ambulance close to where we live (much too often as we live by a main route to a city hospital). I immediately think that the EMT are rushing to see my son again. Needless to say (type), I'm scared that my little boy might get another seizure regardless how much so-called experts say that the seizure could've been some random one-off event (

I must admit that I can no longer remember clearly all that happened that night -- the seizure, the lights from the ambulance, the ride to the hospital, staying at the hospital about four hours and getting back home in a livery car. Maybe my mind's trying to protect itself "forgetting" this experience in order to hold on to my vanishing sanity ( In all, I don't want to go through it again though I'm stuck with the role of the strong and fearless adult during this and all emergencies. As a matter of fact, as a former member of the Red Cross and someone who wanted to be a medical doctor at some point of my life, I've always been the cold and calculating individual in case of an emergency, but in this case it was my son at risk.

Previously, the only other time that I was constantly scared of ambulances and other first rescue vehicles was right after 9/11 ( It took me then almost three years to put these fears away.

Said the latter, I'm not sure when I'll be able to get rid of my current fears.

rants: keeping myself busy (sane)

Although for a while I've had trouble concentrating hard enough to read the ebooks I've got (, I've been able to read the Guide to Divinity ( a little bit at a time.

I've also been holding whatever's left of my sanity ( by writing system documentation and cleaning up some code. As a matter of fact, my pet project in the past three days has been changing a website from ColdFusion (CFM) to PHP. All this work's actually for a temporary step to move the website to a new hosting company as soon as possible. Then I'll start working on the brand new site using WordPress. For me this is lots of fun although I still have about 136 bugs as I'm writing this entry. Of course, the best part is finally moving this site back to a much more reliable Unix environment.

Watching TV is another thing's that's helping me -- especially comedies like Two and Half Men ( and science fiction like Doctor Who (

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

rants: so many books, yet nothing I care to read

I've got a small collection of ebooks including several versions of the Bible ( that I move in and out of the memory card of my mobile as often I finish reading them or decide not to waste my time on them anymore. This means that I can actually read any or all of them anywhere. Nonetheless as of late, I've lost interest in doing so (possible sign of another bout with depression; At times, i wish were normal (

more snow

More snow covered the city and there's more coming this weekend ( It'd be perfect for a couple of snow days, but the city refuses to close the schools. As expected, my nine-year-old isn't happy at all that he's forced to go to school. I'd rather have him stay warm and safe at home.

my son's first ever seizure, health insurance

So yesterday's news was that the health insurance wants to pay for a regular EEG this Friday ( and the 48-hour intake the following Friday (with some obvious catch, as if the purpose was to deny the payment for service). This throws everything off.

my son's first ever seizure, a friend's prayer

Last night, I received an email from a dear friend of mine. I won't post my friend's name since that person knows whom I'm referring to and that's more than enough for us both.

i can't figure out how to comment on your blog... wanted to let you know i'm praying for your son.

My response was from the heart.

As cynical as I can be, I learned not to trust others. At the same time, after living with my father who is a pathological liar (to say the least;, I learned not to say anything I don't feel (different from not lying). Furthermore, as I have stated in my blog, whatever little I post on-line is not to trigger any one's pity or any other emotion ( Needless to say I do appreciate your honest words. As a matter of fact, no one else has bothered. Said all this, thank you for your words and prayers. I do appreciate them. You're a good friend and soul.

It's good to know that some people do care. Thank you my dear friend (once again, no name needed).

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

my son's first ever seizure, no one's bloody pity

I share and keep a record of my opinion and intimate troubles as I maintain my privacy and that of my children. I want no one's pity and/or charity. Having explained the latter, if you want to pray for my child (, please do so as God might listen. If you think I'm whining, fuck you and stop reading this blog.

my son's first ever seizure, counting the days for the hospital intake

This Friday I'd take my nine-year-old to a hospital (twelve miles away from where we live) for an 48-hour intake as requested by the neurologist ( The doctor(s), technician(s) and/or nurse(s) will run an EEG and whatever other medical tests while keeping my boy under observation.

I don't know what to expect from and/or what to think about the hospital stay. Will this help my son or not or simply be a charade? Can this finally give us an answer what's really wrong with him and perhaps how to treat him?

Come Monday morning, everything might still be the same -- no answers, the same nightmare, the same pain and desperation. Maybe I've just lost all hope and faith. Maybe my boy will remain sick for the rest of his painful life.

All I know is that right now I'm going through a whole lot of emotions including a slight level of depression as well as some anxiety too (though heavily with the medication I take). At the same time, I'm making a list of the things we might need for the stay and it's become another big expense that I'd not considered doing.

By the way, where's God in all this ( How can I use with this thing called faith to help my son?

Regardless what the answers to all my questions might be, I'll write a log about all the events that'll happen this coming weekend.

Friday, January 7, 2011

Coptic Christmas, what a compromise

In the Coptic (east) tradition, Christmas was the 6th of January (yesterday), not the 25th of December. This shows the compromise or decision by the Roman Catholic Church (west) and all related traditions to celebrate the birth of the Christ close to the winter solstice, a Pagan celebration (

Maybe we've adopted the date of the Coptic Christmas in the western interpretation of Christianity when we celebrate or at least remember the arrival of the Magi (a minor important date in our Christian calendar) also on the 6th of January.

All things considered, we -- insignificant earthlings -- might never really know the exact date when the Christ came to us. Nonetheless we continue to celebrate the coming of God incarnate on these two dates.

This brings us to wonder which branch of the Church is truer to the early Church or better yet to the traditions and practices of Jesus, the Christ. Once again, we might never know or bother to know -- at the same time that some might decide to hide such knowledge (further corruption in the Church, control of masses, etc).

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

some sort of ministry: inter-faith prayer

while responding to someone asking for an advise how to provide assistance and/or guidance in an inter-faith environment... as an ordained minister no less (

In your particular case, maybe the best way is to approach someone is through conversation using key words like (magic, God, Bible, Christmas, Torah, etc). If the person reacts to any of these words, maybe this person believes a specific faith system (religion). At that point (after getting that person's trust, of course), ask or confirm what you believe that person's faith is. Then pray with him/her. It is pretty much shooting in the dark, but sometimes it works.

my son's first ever seizure, next Friday

So one EEG ( is scheduled for next Friday and Saturday -- perhaps Sunday too. Now it's merely a matter of waiting and killing time.

All I know is that he's going to be bored to death in a hospital so far from home, without a computer to play his on-line games. I bet he's going to hate me by Saturday night.

Joking aside, I honestly don't know what to expect at this point. I'm afraid that any day could be my son's last. Sometimes I wonder if it'd be better for him to be in heaven than on earth suffering. Now I understand why some parents kill their beloved children -- to keep them from suffering.

My little boy doesn't care about school and only wants to play video games on-line as most children do. The big difference's been the pain due to his medical condition.

To make matters worse, after the seizure, he's become much more aggressive -- almost dangerous to his two-year-old brother. Thinking that my sick child might hurt his own baby brother kills me inside. I hate to keep them separate at times and/or under constant watch.

Why does my nine-year-old have to suffer and cry in pain and anxiety? Life's been cruel (a bitch, as the saying goes) to my son and I've got no idea where God fits in it all (

On a related note, this whole situation's taken a toll on my health. I've aged faster than I probably should've. Sometimes I feel pressure on the left side of my chest as if it was a cardiac thrombosis (heart attack), which wouldn't surprise me since heart disease runs in the family.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

my son's first ever seizure, what about God?

I need answers, so many answers.

Where was God in all this (

Did he forsake my son, an innocent child born sick for miserable doctors to use as a guinea pig (

Why did he let this happen to my boy (

Did he want to kill and/or destroy my son's mind (frying his brain), health and/or life (

Is this some sort of sick celestial punishment for my sins? If so, I should suffer alone and die for my sins instead of allowing my little boy suffer (

I'm angry at God for allowing my son to suffer in pain, anxiety and fear ( Why doesn't God just kill me in exchange for my boy's life?

my son's first ever seizure, a $522 ride

Yesterday I received a bill from the EMS (FDNY) for $522 for the ambulance ride to the hospital that dreaded night (11/29/2010, If we didn't have health insurance, this is how much I'd have to pay the city.

When we left the hospital that night (early morning, about two hours before dawn), we took a $10 cab ride back home. The cost comparison's incredible.

Monday, January 3, 2011

walking by a Lutheran church: a little friendly confrontation

Yesterday I walked by the same Lutheran church ( as its small congregation was getting ready for service. I felt weird walking by and looking in through its large glass windows. At some point, I'd considered going to this church for at least one service, but all I can say is that some people can't handle a little friendly confrontation discussing differences in secondary Christian beliefs and/or practices. In the end, I've opted not to visit this church (at least for the time being), to remain curious and to simply continue going to FAPC as originally planned. Said all this, I guess I must emphasize on the following.

  1. The clergy in that Lutheran church were welcoming, seemed honest and offered me a place to worship. My comments are by no means an insult or other level of offense to the clergy of such church and/or the church itself.
  2. I do respect the ideology of the Lutheran Church although I didn't quite agree with all of it (
  3. I also respect all material written to God, from God, for God by any group of Christians. Of course, this by no means forces me to agree with it all or any of it at all.

denominational & non-denominational: ditching denominations

On Twitter (where I get most of my religious news), Lawrence Wilson @LawrenceWilson posted a link to the following.

"At the same time mainstream denominations lose thousands of members per year, churches such as Crosspoint are growing rapidly — 15 percent of all U.S. churches identified themselves as nondenominational this year, up from 5 percent a decade ago. A third dropped out of major denominations at some point."

More churchgoers ditch their denominations

Considering that denominations are labels for common secondaries beliefs, most of us have left the churches that we grew up in (Catholic in my case) and found a more comfortable environment (truer to oneself) to worship God. Definitely from my own experience, I found in FAPC ( that truer spiritual home for me to be able to worship God.

"Denominations share theological, organizational and legal ties. They send out missionaries; build colleges, seminaries and hospitals; and fund pension plans for pastors."

More churchgoers ditch their denominations

At the same time, some Christians opt to lose its ties completely from denominations. These Christians don't identify themselves with secondary doctrines of a specific denomination or simply refuse to be labeled.

On a personal level, I prefer a denominational environment where I know what to expect in a service -- a fixed pattern. I just opted to go to another church.

Sunday, January 2, 2011

new year's bloody sham of a day

A friend of mine (Princess) wrote what she thought new years was while growing up.

"When I was a kid I thought New Years was something magical because I was always put to bed and unable to celebrate with the adults. I thought the sky would turn purple or something. Turns out I was dead wrong!!! Nothing magical happens but a new year does begin at least."

My response wasn't so charming and perhaps naive, but rather too annoyingly cynical.

"There's nothing magical about fireworks, people getting drunk or people's Pagan rites like the twelve (12) grapes at midnight (superstitions) -- simply pathetic. The only interesting (cool) thing was seeing the streets plagued in fire. That's what new years was about when I was a kid. Now it's only getting another year, another month, another day closer to one's death! It's so bloody depressing and stupid. Then again me dying remains a cool idea. Don't you think?"

The last part of my comment -- making fun of my own death -- might not be the Christian thing to do. It might actually scare people off and/or at least give others the wrong idea. Nonetheless it's fun to laugh at one's self and not care what others think.