Friday, March 28, 2008

Learning through Miscue at the U

I went to school for enrollment of my project study. I hope this will be my last term in the University. The Chairman said that I could have made it last semester, but, well, I decided not to push it. (I could have made it if I have taken the project study seriously at November, instead of December. After all, I submitted the paper March 19, only 11 days after the deadline. Oh well, that’s part of the past.)

What appears to be a normal routine in enrollment turned out to be an example of inter-department misunderstanding! The Management Information System (MIS) of the University was in charge of the enlistment of enrollees. Our Department told the students to go MIS for enlistment. I went to MIS. Then, the MIS told me that the enlistment is now under the Department office. I went back to the Department office. I think you know what followed: miscommunication. The Chairman got a bit irritated due to the miscommunication. What irritates the Chairman is that our department is the Department of Educational Management, Measurement & Evaluation. The Chairman heads a department that deals with handling schools, colleges, and universities efficiently. MIS is also part of School Administration. Because of this, he gave us a compromise. He took our enrollment forms. He promised that his office will take care of the student procedures (MIS and account verification). That means his office will do the job for us. The only thing that we’ll only do NEXT WEEK is payment to the cashier. Still, because of the miscommunication brought about by the MIS, the students delayed their enrollment of one week. Good thing that I’m not that busy. However, what about other graduate students who will enroll that day? Some of my classmates traveled all the way to Cavite, Laguna, Batangas, Bulacan. I had a classmate who lived in Olongapo. I even used to have a classmate who lives in Marinduque.

Oh well, the common answer that I usually hear is this: “You enrolled in this school. You should be responsible enough, regardless of distance.” Yes, that is true. However, responsibility it’s not limited only to students: students must comply with the requirements in school (be it in their classes, enrollments, and other stuff that require a student’s time, energy, and attention), the professors must facilitate learning (facilitate is the right verb to use and to do in graduate school), and non teaching personnel, like people from MIS, must do their non teaching job like accounting, physical facilities, proper inter-department paper trails, inter-department task like enrollment, etc. Still though, at the end of the day, what just happened in the University is a classic example of Inter-group Conflict. Though the experience is quite a hassle, I have learned to give a specific level of tolerance. After all, we are not perfect. There will always be miscommunications. Without that type of conflict, one will not learn to be tolerant (it takes a specific amount of tolerance from teachers in order for students to learn, right?). On part of the organization, in this example a University, it is in conflicts like these that will make an organization improved, if they will learn and do something after the conflict was seen.

By the way, why did I mention two paragraphs of a topic about a mere incident of inter-department miscommunication that resulted in students going back next week for the enrollment? Learning experience, my friend, learning experience.

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Missing the Old Church

I miss the old church. The church I grew up. The church, through its Christian school, educated me until high school. It was in the Old Church where I learned some a few aspects on leadership (with Adamson University gave me the big leadership break). The church in which without them, I would have not known that I’m a sinner that needs salvation. It was November, 1992, when I received Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior.It was in the Old Church in which I learned how to be friendly (through their endorsed Youth Camps and Youth Conventions though). Most of the people that I met (though it showed that only few can be considered true friends) and I grew up with are from the Old Church. It was in the Old Church when I first have my first church preaching. Although I first preached behind the pulpit in one of the Old Church’s mission, without the “Old Church connection”, I will not be given a break. I will not be acquainted with the mission men and women if not for the Old Church. However, what I miss MORE are the Baptist missions established by the Old Church. I remember the time that I was suspended because of a break-up (which is consensual, by the way, however, because of my position, I was suspended immediately). A preacher (who now works in a secular firm) invited me to help them. I breezed through that suspension because God used the Old Church mission. There are some “jokes” on why I like going to mission churches: 1) I can make my “layboy” ways there, 2) I will be more popular there. I got used to those two assumptions, and I consider them as jokes (jokes that are not half-meant, but pieces of junk, not helpful to your growth as a Christian and as individual). I just shrug off the rumors, as thinking of those statements will not help me. I don’t know, but the “mission atmosphere” is quite fulfilling for me every time I’m given a chance to participate. I don’t know if I will ever reach the efforts that our Baptist and Christian forefathers made (I doubt), but my heart is on the missions. The old church people, particularly my former youth director and an elementary school mentor, wanted me to join the Christian school (because of my educational background). Trying to be as obedient as possible, I obeyed. However, my heart is helping missionaries in an actual manner, not just the offering (although I salute the people who financially supports Baptist mission. I pray that God blesses them). I was asked by Mom and a former teacher from the Old Church academy if I still want to go back. I usually answer, “it depends on the church’s decision.” Don’t get me wrong. That’s not pride. It’s just a fact. The Old Church Pastor told me to stay put in the New Church. After all, my ex-girlfriend, according to her mother, is not ready for me to go back (during those times and now, she has a boyfriend, and she, or they, can say things like that?).Mom, though she doesn’t like my decision of going back to the old church (if they will finally allow me), understood the reason. I have explained to her that it’s because of principle. My Kuya is not in favor with my decision. He said it will just hurt me. It will just distract me from serving God. The rejection from my ex’s sympathizers is inevitable. The way people will look at me will generally be not the same as before. There is also a possibility of not being a youth leader again, or being given a responsibility related to youngsters 13 and above.Frankly, Kuya has his point. In fact, there is a high probability that what he’s saying will be true. It’s true. My ex has a share of sympathizers, even single ladies sympathizers (which lowers my chance of having a relationship and marrying a Baptist girl THERE EVEN MORE). There are single ladies who don’t sympathize with her, but will rather not sympathize with me (which I understand). Why shall I still go back despite the high risk of stereotyping, rejection, and any negative stuff that will make me look so bad, or soooooooooooooo backslidden? Well, it’s about principle. Grown ups face their own responsibility (I still believe there are other options to be a responsible guy rather than marriage. After all, I have not raped the girl, it’s consensual). I am accountable and responsible for my actions. Going back to the Old Church will give the rumor mongers and my critics no more justification for whatever stuff they will say against me. Their wrong attitude towards me will always be there, but God will take of it more than ever this time (for I have made my efforts and follow the old church system). In fact, I can now bluntly say, “YOUR ATTITUDE IS DEAD WRONG”. Besides, going back to the Old Church (when I’ll finally be allowed) can be considered a “real man’s act”. I miss the old church, despite of some nasty people there. I am not bitter with the rules. Churches need rules (from the Bible) for order and protection. I am not bitter with Old Church Pastor. I am not bitter with the Deacons. They were in a predicament. Besides, they never have the chance of hearing my side. They had no choice, but to do the decision. I am not bitter to the youngsters who have been under me, for some was not given the luxury of access TO A FAIR INFORMATION. Oh well, if I will not be given any ministry (especially that deals with teenagers above) after a year or two (or even three), I’ll just focus myself on my business and law school (if time and money permits). I’ll still attend church actively. I’ll still read the Bible the same. I’ll follow the youth leaders, even if they’re younger than I am. I’ll try my best not to be late or absent, just like in the new church. For the mean time, I’ll use that vacant 2-3 years in pouring my energy out in our family business, and Law School.I miss the old church. I hope and pray that I can finally be allowed. I just hope and pray that God speaks to the hearts of my ex-girlfriend and her mother, and the Old Church Pastor. After all, like I always say, I have always expressed my desire to go back. It’s ALL OLD CHURCH now. Not me. (No pride, bitterness, and rebellion here. Just following logic.)

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

No one's too perfect not to forgive...

No one is too perfect not to forgive, and no one is too perfect not to ask forgiveness.

Of course, the last part of that line is only applicable to humans. For the past 2 weeks or so, I always say those lines. The above words hit it all. I mean, these words talk about forgiving someone (when someone did something wrong) and asking forgiveness to someone (when you did wrong to someone). Honestly, I say these words out of experience. Each and every one of us commits mistakes, some maybe terrible mistakes. It’s just that sometimes, you were blessed (I don’t like the word “lucky”) that those around you have that kind of tolerance to your wrongdoing. Thus, you think you’re not THAT bad after all. Maybe you’re just blessed with friends that can tolerate and cover it up for you. Thus, you think you’re not THAT bad after all. Maybe you see yourself that you’re just poor…broke (sad, but true, but there are others who uses their own material poverty to justify their real foolishness. Classic). Thus, you think you’re not THAT bad after all. However, if you’ll read Romans 3:23, it says “…ALL have sinned…”. Yes, ALL. There is another Bible verse that I wanted to share: Luke 6:37.

“Judge not, and ye shall not be judged: condemn not, and ye shall not be condemned: forgive, and ye shall be forgiven.”

There is also another verse I wanted to share in this post: I John 1:9: “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.”

There are numerous verses on forgiveness and asking forgiveness in the Bible. Yes yes yes. One can say that justice must be served. Don’t get me wrong. I believe in justice. Justice must really be served. However, while justice is being served, forgiveness must be there. If we are really knowledgeable human beings, we’ll say that forgiveness and justice are two different things. Romans 12:19-21 told us that God will repay. As true believers in Christ, our task is to forgive. Going back to look Luke 6:37, forgiveness is imperative (look at the sentence), a command with a promise.

I know that this stuff is hard to swallow. I myself find it hard to forgive at times, especially when the people who did you wrong NEVER did the OTHER half of the job (if one must ask forgiveness, one must forgive...or to put it safe, forgiving one another). It came to a point that I became bitter with people who never admitted their short comings just because I also did something wrong. However, one thing I realized first hand is that the more you hate, the more you affect other people. Most of the time, you even affect the people that is not subject of your hatred and unforgiving spirit. There are times that because of the deep-seated, unforgiving attitude, you hate almost all the people who did wrong to you (even if they did it unintentionally). Being forgiving will not help those people that did something wrong to you, it will also help you as well. I can’t imagine that a person with deep seated hatred can sleep well (unless that person is manipulative or callous. When a person’s hatred made him callous, I don’t know, God will just take care of that person).

Asking forgiveness when you did something wrong is also important. After all, repentance and confession of your sins are key ingredients before you can accept Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior. When I look at the television, I see politicians hitting right and left. I have told this before in my previous posts: it is quite rare that politicians admit their wrong doing. Even in the world we are living, asking forgiveness is becoming a rare commodity. The game is this: a person will be reprimanded from his wrong doing. Because of this, the wrong doer will dig deeper to the one who reprimanded him. If he found a fault, he will not admit his wrong doing; he’ll point a person’s short coming, just to avoid asking forgiveness. Pride. Bluntly, if you say that what I’m saying is wrong, you’re either of the two: you think you’re too perfect to forgive or you’re too perfect to ask forgiveness.

Haven’t we asked ourselves lately? I know that this sounds foolish or a waste of a time or…childish (to those older ladies who hate younger guys and just use the words “childish, immature” to justify that hate or…putting it safe…not “liking”)...or not post or forum friendly worthy of killing this topic (forum people usually do that when they’re pissed off)…hey, haven’t you asked yourself lately these questions:
1) Am I perfect?
2) Did I do/say something that offended someone (be it petty or severe), but out of fear, or pride, didn’t sincerely said, “I’m sorry/Forgive me”? (be it petty or severe).
3) Have I withheld a compliment that a person deserves because of one reason or another (fear that the person might become boastful, etc…)?
4) Have I lied to someone, even if it is just white lies or lies to protect the investments, loved ones, etc…?
5) Have you experienced rejecting/abhorring/disliking a person just because you don’t like him/her, not really because of any negative traits that he/she had (“living-and-dying-on-first-impression” attitude)?
6) If you like computer forums, have you “kill the topic” or never replied to a thread just because you’re pissed off to a person?
7) Have you ignored someone just because you have a bad day back home?
8) Have I not admitted my mistakes because I know the people who accused me of such have a malicious motive why did he accuse me of such?
And matters similar to these…

Surely, if you’re mature enough, your answer to number 1 is “no”, and one of the seven items (or items similar to them) or more are “yes”. Now, if that’s the case, then why the heck are we not that forgiving? Why the heck are we not ready to admit our real faults so that it can be corrected?

I can’t comprehend why there are people so unforgiving, yet, when you look at their life, they’re not that even good enough. There are even times that they also have a share why did those things happen to them in the first place. I admit, I’m speaking partially out of my experience, especially with what happened to me two years ago. Experience is the best teacher after all (next to Bible). Indeed, that demonstration of unforgiving spirit and hatred showed to me that it is not good NOT to forgive and NOT to ask forgiveness. I just shake my head when I see people so bitter and/or unforgiving they haven’t realized that there came a time that they committed something wrong, but because there are forgiving people around him/her, he/she seemed scot-free. If not for God’s forgiveness of our sins, what will happen to us? If God didn’t forgive us, we are totally depraved, hell-bound individuals. Then, we’ll demonstrate that kind of unforgiving attitude to others, being imperfect?

My friends and fellow believers, I’m not saying this because I’m very forgiving. At times, I’m not that forgiving also. Like you, I’m also striving to improve on the forgiveness department (as a sinner saved by grace). However, let’s just think that we are not too perfect not to forgive, and we are not too perfect not to ask forgiveness. Let’s just think that there are other people who were treated wrongfully worse than we are, yet they managed to forgive. There are others who admitted stuff worse than we are, yet managed to ask God and man forgiveness.

I hope this is challenge to everyone, including myself.

Saturday, March 22, 2008

my Holy week break

While most of the people are celebrating the Holy Week in beaches, public and private pools, provincial rest houses, hotels, out of the country, out of town, etc., I opted to stay at home. Actually, my Mom and Kuya, together with his family, went to Quezon last Wedneday (March 19). Honestly, I want to go with them. However, I wanted the project study paper submitted before the Holy Week break. Thus, Wednesday morning, I submitted my project study paper to the Department Chairman. I was given two options: give it to the readers OR he’ll read it first. I decided that he reads the paper first. After all, there are things lacking in that paper. The acknowledgments and dedications sections are two of that stuff. Another is the analysis of one problem statements there (I have 6 problem statements). Lastly, the 4th chapter, I admit, lacks analytical depth. In addition, it has so many tables. Still, I asked the chairman to read it. At least, if I’ll make a revision, I’ll have a better, clearer direction on how I’ll revise the paper.

Another reason why I opted to stay at home during the Holy Week break is there are paper works that date back to February that I need to finish. Good thing that yesterday (Good Friday), I have finished them all. Now, what I’m about to finish today, aside from the Sunday school lesson that I usually teach weekly, is my target Bible reading dates. Based on my notes, I haven’t read my Bible for almost 3 weeks. Since Maundy Thursday, I have read it like I’m having a reading marathon. As of the time that I’m typing this post, it is still 10 pages to go before I get back in track.

Yeah, yeah, you may found my Holy Week break boring. However, the bottom line is that that is the consequence of negligence. I neglected my Bible reading time, so I must be responsible enough to get myself back in schedule. I neglected the paper works (because of my project study paper at school), so I did my best to get myself back in track (and finished all of the papers. Yes, the office is not looking for them yet, but it is better to do it than do it just at the time when it is being requested. At least, when the time comes that the office asked for it, I’ll just print it).

Staying in Metro Manila during Holy Week break turned out to be a blessing in disguise. It’s been almost 9 months since the last time I have talked with my best friend. I went to my best friend’s house. He’s now a family guy, by the way. The good news is that he plans to make a public apology in the church (because he’s not married yet, though they’re planning to do it as soon as possible). Now, that is good news. I told him to go for it, and take the advantage while he is still inside the old church. We talked until it is around 10pm. I am happy for him that he’s trying to fix his life financially AND spiritually.

Random notes here….

What caught my fancy is the old church’s pastor sermon back in the old church (my best friend is telling me this). According to the old church pastor, one should not call himself Christian or believers if you don’t have a changed life. He further said that I will not hesitate to remind, rebuke, and correct the erring members, especially if you’re a graduate of the Christian school. You know what? The old church pastor is very right. Some of the old church members thought since they’re not “kicked out” they’re better. I remember a Christian school graduate who offered me a drink. I rejected. He told me, “C’mon, do it. You’re excommunicated after all”. I know it’s a joke to me, but it is also a comedy of that fellow alumnus’ life. I maybe excommunicated, but I’m trying to bounce back, talk things over to the Old Church Pastor, and avoid what is not fit for believers to do so (though I still have my lapses, but I’m trying by God’s grace). How about that person who gave me a shot of that beer/alcohol? He’s going to church donning his hair like he’s going in a concert, and he’s still joining his drinking buddies. Man, the only edge he got is that he’s not excommunicated just like me. Besides, the sins that got me kicked out of that church is a sin that is being done by most single guys today (Nope. I’m not justifying, let me finish). The only edge they got is that I am a youth leader under an invisible microscope. While they can just do these foolish stuff, and, thanks to their Christian and non-Christian friends, no evidence can be found in order to be kicked out as well. Man, I admit that there are times that I envy these people. The old church pastor is right. It’s like saying, “if you’re calling yourself a Christian, you should try your best to fix your life.”

I agree with Ecclesiastes 12:14 (I like the word “secret thing” there). You know what? Being excommunicated has been a blessing in disguise to me. I’m more honest to God and man, regarding my spiritual standing. Because of that honesty, I slept better than before (except for graduate works and reading Sunday school and YPF lessons which deprive me of sleep at times). Besides, it is promised in the Bible (Proverbs 28:13). Now, how about those who still haven’t experienced any disciplinary action and yet still continuing in sins without a shadow of trying to bounce back away from it? Oh well, let God be the Judge on them. Still, a true sheep doesn’t like mud.

Don’t ever brag that you never experienced excommunication, and yet you’re not doing your best to fix your life spiritually. God is not mocked! Don’t act like a fool! Okay, even if you’re doing your best and are a reputable Christian, please don’t boast it. Remember 1 Corinthians 10:12. The brethren in Christ who said that I should publicly apologize first before I call her sister, man, I know what she did. Besides, what she said to me is a mark of arrogance (makes me think, “Good thing she has her friends and the old church has been so considerate of her that they just gave her a graceful exit from full time ministry. What she did can be subjected to public confession! How arrogant of her!” I hated her self-righteous arrogance, not she herself).

What the old church pastor said at one of his sermons is also an eye opener and a reminder to me and other believers out there. If we are really true Christians, let’s try our best to fix our lives. After all, by God’s grace, we can do it.

Monday, March 10, 2008

living and dying on first impressions

For the first time after about 5 years, I met Judy Almoquira, former JPIA President-Adamson University chapter (1999-2000). It was such a nice experience. Actually, back in our days as RSO (Recognized Student Organization) people, I never chat with Judy in an informal manner. Most of the times, we’ll talk to discuss organization stuff and things similar to that. Oh well, I have to admit, I was quite shy to talk with her. Back then, she’s quite popular in Adamson. She has a smooth, tanned skin (nowadays, I started to call her “mocha girl”). Not to mention that she’s quite good looking. During those times, even back in school year 1998-1999, she exudes confidence. The first time I saw her is when they had a seminar on parliamentary procedures. My, she speaks like a debater (and she is a debater). Because of that, she’s always one of the students being tapped to be an emcee in pageants, contests, competitions, etc.

Fast forward 2008. I got her number via her friend, who happens to be one of the department heads in Adamson. I started to be honest how shy I was back then to have an informal conversation with her. You know what? She said that she’s also quite shy to approach me in an informal manner. She thought that I’m a walking almanac! Hehehehehe. Our assumptions cost us 9 years of friendship time. Still, it’s never too late to make friends with this witty gal. She’s now a CISA. Indeed, an auditor. She’s now chubbier than before (just like me). She’s single (meaning, no boyfriend). Honestly, looking back 9 years ago and then moving fast forward today, I didn’t expect having a friendly date with her.

Why did I share these things anyway? It’s not about dating, you rumor-monger and indifferent bozos. My main point is about assumptions. Our assumptions cost us things, one way or another. I remember a Pastor/Mentor/Friend, Pastor Abel Bernardo said to me, “the only accurate assumption that I know is that President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo graduated from that college (Assumption College)”. Assumptions can be either right or wrong. However, because we tend to live on assumptions, we tend to be judgmental. At times, we live and die on first impressions. For example, you saw a person, and he sounds cocky or loud. Especially girls, they’ll accuse the guy of being childish or a jerk or Mr. Personality (sometimes, I started to think that when a girl doesn’t like an extrovert guy, she will say that the guy is immature and not really because of the shallowness of a guy’s persona).

I am quite disappointed with people who are so called graduates of “fine schools”, or schools that epitomize intelligence (please forgive the stereotype for now…do the beating later). I am also disappointed with people who always brag their “old age” in a direct or a subtle form (just to show how superior they are, although at times maybe this is just a defense mechanism of some girls to get rid of guys). In what way am I disappointed with some people of these types? Because some of these types of people live and die on their first impression. They live on assumptions. When they have seen the first impression, they’ll begin to say things negatively. The next time you met, expect that you’ll be given a cold shoulder or a one word answer to your “many word” question. Yes, I am guilty at that also sometimes. Yes, I believe that first impression lasts longer. However, if you’re with a person on a weekly or occasional manner (like events), will you give a person a cold shoulder just because you had a bad impression? Yes, first impressions last, but whatever happened to Matthew 7:1? Whatever happened to their so-called intelligence? Whatever happened to the so-called maturity because of old age? I believe that intelligent person go beyond first impressions (unless he or she is too busy to do that. If he or she’s too busy to do that, then why assume or judge a person?). I also believe that if you’re boasting maturity, then your mindset is broad enough to accommodate the old AND the young. After all, even in science and research courses, even if we have our hypothesis, the hypothesis is still subject for testing. Jumping into conclusion is a bad move.

I was shy because I assumed Judy’s too famous in Adamson to have a date with an ordinary guy like me. She was shy back then because she assumed that I’m too nerdy to have a chat with. Both of us are wrong and our assumptions cost us 8 years of what could had been good, closer friendship. Good thing it was not too late for us to be good friends. Don’t get me wrong.

What if I found out that my assumptions happened to be true (because I have proven it)? That’s the only time you can go to the conclusion.

Oh well, maybe there are people who are too busy to dig deeper to a person. Thus, they rely on first impressions and pre-conceived judgments. I received rejections, rude treatment, indifferent action, etc, just because I try to dig a person, despite a bad impression. Why am I still digging a person despite having a bad impression or despite sensing something’s wrong with him/her? I don’t want to be judgmental. A person is presumed innocent until proven guilty.

Even if it is risky, at least I have proven if my assumptions are right or wrong.

I understand that reality bites; we lose good things (or lose the opportunity to get the best things) one way or another because we tend to stick to our assumptions and pre-conceived judgments (which happened to be wrong). One will never be perfect on this area. However, as a human being who is claiming to be sane, “normal” and accusing the geeks, the “isolated ones”, and MENSA-like people as “batang mental/weirdo/psychopathic/eccentric/nerd”, God has given us a thinking brain in order to go beyond first impressions. It may sound sarcastic, but this is true: we don’t use our head sometimes. First impression and that’s it. Isn’t it strange how we tend to talk about different societal issues with critical thinking skills in practice, yet never go beyond our first impression when we encounter a cocky looking guy or a loud gal?

I know I’m starting to sound like a perfectionist. Don’t worry, reality is still intact in me. Hehehehe. My point is just this: because of our wrong assumptions to a person, sometimes (even most of the times), we lose the chance of knowing the person well. We lost the opportunity of having a good, loyal, trust worthy friend. All because we assumed the person wrong.