Monday, May 19, 2008

a former congregants' words...and my response

A few days ago, I’m browsing my friendster account. I noticed a new primary photo of one of my friendster friends. I didn’t recognize him immediately due to his new primary photos. Then, when I browsed it, I saw this message in the “who you want to meet” portion:
i want to meet ung mga tupperware (BAPTIST FRIENDS) kong friends noong unang panahon,totoo ang sabi ng former boss ko a lot there in Baptist ay hypocrite,,wala tau magagawa un ang paniniwala nya dba hehehe as for me khit anong mangyari im still a BAPTIST hehehehe,,,salamat nga pala sa mga nabibilang totoo dyan sa tabi tabi alam nyo na kung cno kau pagpapalain kau ng may Kapal. hehehetamaan wag magalit!!!

I’ll translate it English. Here it goes:

“I want to meet my Tupperware (Baptist Friends) friends. What my former boss said is right that there are a lot of Baptists who are hypocrites. It’s his opinion, and we can’t do something about it hehehehehehe. As for me, no matter what happens, I’m still a Baptist hehehehehe…thank you for those people, you know who you are, who remain true (honest, not hypocrite), may the Almighty God bless you hehehehehe. To those who were hit by this, DON’T BE ANGRY. HEHEHEHE”

“Tupperware” (derived from the same brand of PLASTIC ware product) is a Tagalog slang used to describe “hypocrites” because “plastics are not real”. (Okay, those who speak Tagalog may disagree with my translation, but in translating, there are times that you don’t translate LITERALLY WORD-FOR-WORD.)

Now, let me tell you this: hypocrites are everywhere, be it inside or outside the Baptist church. Besides, where did they learn hypocrisy? Not inside the Baptist church, but outside the Baptist church. The church leaders will never teach their members to be hypocrite. The Bible is against hypocrisy. Jesus Christ is very much against hypocrisy. Well, according to him, his former boss said that there are a lot of Baptists who are hypocrites. Yes, he said a lot of Baptists. I believed he said that because someone from the inside (him) said something negatively against Baptist people to an outsider (his former boss). Yes, it is true. There are hypocrites inside Baptist churches. However, where did they learn it? They learned it outside the Baptist church. Besides, these members only spent at least 2 hours inside the church (if a member is not attending Sunday school, prayer meeting, evening service, and fellowships), and the rest they spend OUTSIDE THE CHURCH.

Besides, they don’t have any idea who said those words. He’s a former congregant. Like me, he was excommunicated from the OLD CHURCH. Why? Fornication, but it’s the not the very reason why he was excommunicated. He’s e-mailing our former pastor and his wife, trying to get their sympathy (and also other brethren in Christ). He has also stolen some church properties (some parts of the audio system) (based on what I’ve heard, he did it after he got the information that he’s excommunicated). Not only that, he used the church telephone (long distance) doing unauthorized phone calls, using a pseudonym. I don’t know if he did any effort to patch things up with the Old Church Pastor. By the way, I didn’t mention the lies he said (he lied regarding the church phone bills, even using God’s name in vain).

Anyway, I was also excommunicated by the Old Church, what’s the difference? There are many ways we are different:

1) I committed fornication, but I talked to the Old Church Pastor regarding the matter. I tried to talk things out. The Old Church pastor understood (after another pastor, my ex’s pastor, explained to him carefully the situation). I have said this many this many times: it’s the Old Church, through the Pastor, that I’ll finally be allowed to go back if my ex-girlfriend will forgive me.
2) When I was excommunicated, they never heard my side for about a year. Even until now, only few, unbiased people really know what really happen.
3) Before I said my side, I admitted what I really did wrong.
4) I didn’t steal any church properties, even if they gave me such discipline.
5) I didn’t e-mail anyone to get their side. Yes, I e-mailed the wife of old church’s former pastor, but even she knows that I tried my best not to get sympathy. Besides, I just let her know that the reason why I’m not yet back is because I’m not yet allowed to go back.
6) He was finally excommunicated because if the church didn’t, he’ll divide the church because of his sympathy getting (just like Absalom). I was excommunicated because there is pressure to the other party’s family, not MAINLY because I will divide the crowd (never did I do such).
7) He lied. I told them the truth (if a question is asked).
8) There are also rumors of “sexual harassment” to other young church girls. I’ve been a teacher and a youth leader. I never did such ACT to these young girls.

Besides, looking at his statement, he’s also a hypocrite. Wait, when he said, “As for me, no matter what happens, I’m still a Baptist”, it is hypocrisy. Why? Look at the statements before that: “…What my former boss said is right that there are a lot of Baptists who are hypocrites. It’s his opinion, and we can’t do something about it hehehehehehe.”

There is also unconfirmed news regarding this information: he told my ex-girlfriend and her family that I’m already back in the Old Church, and he’s using this to “get to the Old Church Pastor”. If confirmed true, he didn’t only lie when he said that, he’s also planning something bad to the Old Church pastor (and also to the Old Church), and that is discord.

Oh well, I’ll just leave it that way. I just stated what I felt. If you say that you’re a part of the organization, you’re hurt every time it is being hit. In this case, if you’re saying you’re a Baptist, you’re hurt every time an outsider said something negative to the Baptist faith. You don’t nod your head and laugh sarcastically.

Yes, some of the Old Church members have their own shares of indifferences, hypocrisies, and self-righteousness, but saying those stuff in Friendster? Well, it’s hypocrisy, indifferences, and even self-righteousness.

It’s not Baptist churches who are infested with hypocrisy. Hypocrisy is one of the numerous sins being brought by members FROM OUTSIDE to INSIDE (if you know what I mean).

Look around you. Politicians do it. Celebrities do it. There are hypocrites inside schools, offices, television shows, malls, social gatherings, malls, vacation spots, etc., even in your very own community. These are the places that these so-called “Hypocritical Baptists” are spending more time than inside a Baptist church (normally, in a typical Baptist church, one usually spends around 10-12 hours a week IF he’ll attend ALL the church services in one week, including Fellowships. There are people who are called “morning service Christians” who attend only the 2 hour Sunday morning service).

Just some pointers, my friend. Please don’t be offended. Yes, I still believe that these people will change their attitude by God’s grace. God will change them as time goes by. However, give them more time. After all, these brethren spent more time outside the church than inside the church.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

It's raining and i'm boosting up

As I’m typing this post, it’s raining. It’s middle of the May and it’s been raining almost every afternoon. I’m planning to play basketball, but because of the rain for the past few days, I will usually go home instead.

I admit that I’m starting to feel impatient about the progress of my project study. As of this post, the paper is now in the hands of the Department Chairman of the University. According to him, it is now in the hands of two readers (for the 2nd time). After the 2nd reading, it will be returned to me (with the readers’ notes on what to revise), this time for editing and book binding. I already applied for candidacy for graduation. Within this week, I’ll go to the registrar’s office to secure the Transcript of Records, Certification, Diploma, and Evaluation (although the last one is no longer necessary). The chairman said that I can now apply for them, despite my paper still “in the process”.

Like I said previously, I don’t want to entertain negative thoughts as deeply as before. I’ll just let the events related to this unfold. After all, this waiting is no longer in my control. It’s now in the hands of my Chairman and the readers who read my paper.
The New Church Pastor’s concerned with the parents of Ms. Youngster (look for the May 1 post for more details). They are not attending church for the past 2 straight Sundays. I can’t blame New Church Pastor. As the pastor and the one who pioneered the work in the New Church, he invested time, money, and energy just for this family to be a member. Yes, that family is one of the pioneering members there. Even I myself will feel the same if I’m New Church Pastor. Ms. Pianist’s mother (her father died last year) is still attending; she even continued doing her usual church task: leading the married ladies. One thing that I have noticed is that Ms. Youngster’s brother didn’t waver in his church attendance. He continued. God knows that I salute him for that. About Ms. Youngster, I noticed she is still attending. However, she is not attending Sunday school, the Youth fellowship. I’m usually the teacher in these two slots. She’s also late in Morning and Evening Services. Some of her behaviors are still catching my attention, but I don’t want to dig deeper. It’s not healthy. I’m not being indifferent. I’m just prioritizing. I will exert lesser energy to teach the teachable youngsters. Then, after teaching them, I will talk to those who have outwardly demonstrated stubbornness. Yes, there are youngsters who look teachable outside but are rebelling deep inside. At least they are in the church attending all the services, all the sermons will serve as a reminder for them. If she will continue that attitude, it will not be my lost, but hers. Yes, she is missed in our youth gatherings, but it’s up to her to put herself back in track. If I only have a “reserved battery” in order to deal with our stubborn youngsters, I could have used it just for them to go back and serve God (BY THE GRACE OF GOD).

Oh well, I’m not a perfect youth leader. In fact, I consider myself the least in my batch of Youth Leaders back in the old church. I’m not one of the best singers in the Old Church. My humor is considered CORNY both in the OLD and the NEW church. My script writing and directing don’t win awards. Majority of the Old Church youngsters don’t like the eccentric style of leadership, script writing. My choice of comical skits and drama are often called “ke-weirduhan”. During leaders meeting back in the Old Church, you’ll rarely hear my voice. Why? I have nothing to suggest because they have said it anyway. I admit, at some point I’m envious with my co-leaders, especially the eligible bachelors. It’s hard for me to be noticed positively, while they can be positively notice without sheer effort.

In short, I’m not the best in this job of leading the Young People, both in the Old and the New Church!!!

Why continue in this Christian service? Love for the youth. Besides, God never gave up on me, why should I give up on myself? I may not be the best in the job, but I’m willing to do the job. I maybe corny, weird in the ordinary youngsters, and a loud mouth, but that is who I am! I am not a perfect youth leader, but this is me. God will use me as who I am. Why aspire to be a facsimile of someone when God can use me for who I am? So what if I have a corny sense of humor? After all, humor depends on the listeners, there is no dogma in jokes (as long as the jokes are not green and horny, it’s acceptable). Besides, humor develops. So what if I’m not one of the Old Church’s best singers? I am a good singer. I’m not tone deaf. Besides, I will not have all the talents in the world. So what if I have a record of church disciplines? I can’t do something about my past, including the shattered testimony, but there is still hope for my future! I may not be the great leader around, but I have a great God!

Mark my word, if someone better than I am in the New Church is volunteered to take the Youth Leadership, I will decrease. If New Church Pastor told me to step down, I will step down willingly.

Like I said before, I will try to bring back the “good finding” attitude. Less hate, more care.

Monday, May 12, 2008

Less Hate, More Care

I have realized lately that I have deprived myself in a significant manner. When I was in the Old Church, I have turned down out-of-town trips with Mom and Big bro just because I’ll rehearse with the youngsters, or there is a major church event. Now, I see to it that I will not deprive myself of this. No, I will still prioritize God’s work. However, this time, when Mom and Big Bro invite to go out-of-town, I will answer a resounding, “YES!” It’s their turn to spend my time and energy with them. After all, when the Old Church gave me that “disciplinary action”, no Old Church friends came and made a way to talk to me, and encourage me. So, who are they to rebuke me, and even question if I’ll go out-of-town this time (I’ll say this if I’m finally allowed to go back to the Old Church)? Besides, Mom and Big bro never questioned my church activities back in the Old Church. This time, I think they deserve company courtesy of Mom’s youngest son and Big bro’s little bro.

I have many plans after graduate school. No, I will not immediately go to Law School. I might even discard Law school or any other further education. I am starting to experience burnouts in the graduate school. Maybe I’m just tired from student life. Thus, I gave myself a “one year trial leave from school”. During this time, I’m planning to practice playing guitar and flute. I know how to play them, but I still need a lot of practice to perform them on stage. In my spare time, my hobbies will be crossword, math problems, poetry, and drawing comic strips. Now, maybe you’ll think this is still a busy one if I’ll do it all. Who says I will do them all in one day? I’ll make schedule for this one, all around 6pm onwards. Why crossword and math? I want a hobby that will stimulate my brain. Why comic strips? It’s the artist side of me. Why guitar and flute? Aside for art, mainly it is because the New Church, just like the Old Church, shuns “minus one”. Singing must be accompanied with live instruments, not recorded ones. So, practicing guitar means not disturbing a brother’s or sister’s time to accompany me while I sing. Why poetry? I notice that I can do poetry, so what not do it? Besides, one piece a week will do. Wait, did I mention I’m planning to work out again? However, I’ll take it slow this time because it’s been 5 months since the last time I went to the gym. Still though, I know these are all plans subject to change. It’s still up to God where, how, and when.

I want to bring back the “good finding” attitude in the Youth Ministry that I’m leading. I admit that the optimistic in me was drained because of the recent events in our ministry that led to its 2-week suspension. I have heard many fault findings right and left to the point that I myself had been bitter, and, well, fault finding? “Everything rises and falls on leadership” as the famous Baptist preacher said while he’s still alive. Yes, the Youth ministry had experienced its downside, but hey, it’s not yet the end of the world. Besides, if this present world ends, those who truly experienced the real born again experience will experience Rapture. There is an old song entitled “Count Your Blessings”. So what if my youth members are only 25 in number? So what if our Program is not the best even in the Baptist circles in Quezon City? God will take care of the results of the Youth Ministry. God gives the increase, as Apostle Paul said. Am I sounding preachy? Nope. I just want to boost up myself. Self pity and anger will just give me some chest pains and headaches. So what if the Old Church doesn’t want me back or is afraid to bring me back (because of the other party) or whatever reason it is why I’m not yet allowed to go back? Then, I’ll just spend my time, talent, and energy in this ministry full of potentials. After all, to tell you honestly, I really have no idea what the Old Church leaders is doing to my case. In addition, I have no idea what the other party’s (my ex-girlfriend and her mother) recent feeling towards me (if they have forgiven me or not). Why will I assume negative things this time around? If the other party’s still out there planning stuff to ruin my life (together with their blind sympathizers [I call them blind because they don’t know what they put themselves into]), I trust God to take care of my life, my family, my family’s business. If the other party’s up to something bad or really bad to me, it will come back to haunt them. To some of the Old Church Youth Leaders, youngsters, single ladies who treated me wrong (even if it’s consequence of my actions…sin begets sin), like I said, God will take care of them. After all, I don’t know if they have the character to admit their sins and wrong doings PUBLICLY. Besides, most of them haven’t experienced to have a physical brother who committed this type of sin. They never understood what I have experienced. Thus, I don’t care with what they think about me (this is the time that that italicized sentence is applicable: when you have been nice to people and these same people still thought you otherwise). Like I said, all of those assumptions will just give me headaches and chest pains

I want to throw all the hate and bitterness. No, I didn’t say that I lie in my post in the things that I have shared. Yes, the encounters that I’m sharing in this post are true, but most of the time, it’s all in the attitude. I have heard someone said that sometimes, it’s not the people around me that should change; it’s MY mindset that I should change. Besides, optimism brings energy, pessimism drains you of it. About those people who gave me the hurt, the headache, the heartache, well, God will take care of them (how many times have I said that?). I committed a terrible sin in the eyes of God and in the eyes of men. However, God forgave me (He forgave my past, present, and future sins) and I have sincerely asked Him forgiveness). I believed His promise of forgiveness to every one who asks for it. So, I must also forgive myself. Let go of the hate.

Less hate, more care, more love. After all, life is too short to be bitter.

Thursday, May 1, 2008

another bloody post

Our youth ministry was put into suspension. In fact, all of the ministries in the new church are suspended, except song leading and preaching. The source of the problem? Fornication. Now, here’s the story, and I hope that I can make this a brief one.

The new church pastor has a right hand guy. Quite good looking. Same age as I am. Single. He’s an eligible bachelor indeed. There’s this girl. She’s one of my youth members. Honestly, she’s the prettiest and the tallest youngster in the new church. She’s a college student.

This lady youngster usually gives me text message. However, what I notice is that she’s holding a sort of “dual personality”. She “speaks” so loud at text messages, yet inside the church, she doesn’t talk much. The softness of her voice, I felt, is not real. I admit, she’s not friendly, and in fact, she’s snobbish. Still, like a true blue Christian youth leader, I never jumped into conclusion. I didn’t entertain any negative thought about her, or else, you’ll be given the most famous quote from the Bible being used by those who were being accused: Matthew 7:1.

Then, she shares something (via text message, for she never shares something outside text message) that caught my attention for quite sometime. She told me that her boyfriend is Mr. Right Hand Guy. However, I’m just wondering why they’re not talking to each other in the church. Mr. Right Hand Guy is eligible to have a partner…even a wife! I assumed that maybe Ms. Youngster is not allowed to have a boyfriend. Still, this thought keeps on popping, “Mr. Right Hand Guy is a person trained in one of the strictest Bible colleges that I know. He knows the procedure ‘tell the Pastor first before you will court someone’. He was trained into that. Why he didn’t tell a single soul about this?” Besides, inside the church, you’ll not see them talking. Then, she shared that she committed fornication with him. She told me that it should be a secret. Thus, I never told a soul, not even New Church Pastor. I thought that it is easy. Then, she begins to text that she hates someone: the church pianist (who is also youth member). She hates her because she felt jealous. Well, it is normal to be jealous, I said to myself, but I notice her jealousy is quite an immature one. She’s jealous to the point that she’s demanding me (yes, that’s the word) not to put her and the lady pianist in the same group. Still, I didn’t entertain that attitude of hers. Then, I notice that every time I see her and shake hands with her, I felt “something heavy”. I felt like someone’s pounding me hard every time I look at her. Then, Pastor begins to notice that lady pianist and ms. Youngster is not talking to each other. I tried to invite Mr. Right Hand Guy in a restaurant so that I can open up something. He always declined because he’s going to this and that. Then, I asked him through text if he has a girlfriend. He answered he doesn’t have one. Then, my suspicion begins. Who’s lying? Who’s telling the truth? If guy is telling the truth, then, girl is lying or vice versa. Basically, that’s the way I think of it. Fast forward 3 weeks ago. I asked Ms. Pianist if she knows something. To my surprise, she has all the text evidence. Okay, I know this is quite lengthy, but to sum it up, if we say that if Ms. Pianist is right, the following is also true:
1) The fornication is real, but it is Ms. Youngster who seduced Mr. Right Hand Guy (according to Ms. Pianist, Ms. Youngster gives Mr. RHG with sexually provoking text messages, which I personally see).
2) Ms. Youngster is lying that she said that her boyfriend is Mr. RHG

Okay, then, the unthinkable happened: Ms. Pianist begins to type hate blog posts against Ms. Y. I told her to take it easy. To cut it short, they begin cursing through text.

Now, fast forward, her mom found out what Ms. Pianist told to her. Then, her mom goes angry, threatening not to move out of the New Church.

Thus, Pastor decided to suspend all the ministries until the commotions and angry moods are all gone. The ministry includes the Youth Ministry.

I’m not vocal in my personal opinion, regarding this. Why? Here it goes:

1) I believe that Ms. Y really tempted Mr. RHG, not the other way around.
2) Ms. Y didn’t follow my instructions. I told her to keep her guard and keep her head calm before making any drastic move. She didn’t do it. There is one incident that her mom goes angry. The reason? She didn’t follow my advice. No, she never took any of my advice. Then, she’ll wonder why this is happening to her?
3) Ms. Y used to text me with sweet text message…like I LOVE YOU…and MWAH…I ignored those text messages, thinking it is just typical infatuation. One time, I talked to her (her father stands beside her), “hey there, I’m sorry I didn’t give you a reply on your text last night.” She answered, “what text?” I ignored that for awhile. When I arrived home, she texted me, “sorry, my dad’s strict.” She denied that simple question.
4) One time, my best friend went to the New Church because I invited him. After the service, he said, “best friend, you have a girlfriend.” I answered, “no, if I have one, I should have introduced you to her right from the start. Why?” He said, “Ms. Y said this one: ‘so, you’re my boyfriend’s best friend’.”
5) She’s snobbish in the church, yet talkative on text. It shows that she’s not being true both inside the church and her home. I don’t like that kind of person.
6) How come that her mom saw her text messages? That means she showed it. Okay, maybe I judged too soon, but here’s another question: how come her mom saw her text, but denied mine (look at number 3) while her father’s standing next to her?
7) Why is she afraid that I asked Mr. RHG? After all, I never revealed our secrets to anyone in the church (after all, I’m a youth leader). The only reason why I spoke out is because Pastor decided to suspend all the ministries, and Pastor had heard both sides.

If my opinion is right, Ms. Y is manipulating the situation. She made it appear that she’s the one who was invited by Mr. RHG, not the other way around. However, her text message that was given to me says otherwise. That’s the reason why I’m not vocal on my opinions regarding this one: I don’t believe Ms. Y. The only truth she told me is the fornication issue. Humanly speaking, you can’t help but be with Ms, Pianist’s side: she’s quite teachable, unlike Ms. Y. She’s not as stubborn as Ms. Y.

Still though, Ms. Pianist is wrong:

1) She gives curse words to Ms. Y, which is not right for a Christian to do so.
2) Why is she defending Mr. RHG so much?
3) I assume that her words and actions against Ms. Y is driven with hate to her (they have previous disagreements) and well, possible admiration (she likes him) to Mr. RHG.
4) She should just be a listening ear to both sides, not join them.

Mr. RHG is also wrong because he committed fornication. He allowed himself to be tempted. Still, fornication affects not only one person, or two persons (in this case, Ms. Y). Sin affects the whole body of Christ. In fact, every little sin that a believer does affect the whole local church, one way or another. Oh well, I told him that take everything that is happening now as a consequence.

I posted this here because no one in the new church knows this blog site (unless someone who hates me squeals this one). I shared this as a learning experience and at the same time, voice out my real opinion on that matter. Like I said, this is a learning experience. Every sin that a believer does affects the body of Christ, the church.

I hope and pray that this problem will be solved. Ms. Y told me that she was sorry that because of her, even the Youth Ministry was suspended. At that time, I thought, “maybe you thought that it is only Ms. Pianist who will be affected once your mother found out? Well, take a look. All ministries are suspended. Are you happy now?” Still though, I held my peace. It would be unwise to speak like that. After all, not only fornication, hatred, and divisiveness are the sins involved here. There are also lying and manipulation, the most difficult sins to confront without being dirty.

I hope and pray that things will finally be alright. Thank you so much for reading this. You’ve been an online “listener”.