Tuesday, August 26, 2008

self-righteousness...daw

It’s been quite a while that I had a discussion with someone, especially regarding Christian living.

I said this because recently, someone reacted to my post in a messenger group (name withheld as a respect to the group). The group topic is about pre-marital sex and if it’s forbidden (or “bawal” in Tagalog). Being a Baptist Christian, I responded to the topic by citing a Biblical chapter that talks about this very same topic. It is found in I Corinthians 5. In that chapter, Apostle Paul got a reliable report that pre-marital sex (“fornication” is the Biblical term) is “commonly reported”. I don’t want to lecture regarding Greek lifestyle and their being polytheists, but sex is somehow part of pagan worship (if I’m not mistaken).

In other words, I cited how New Testament Church responds to a brother/sister who committed fornication. I just didn’t mention the details of the discipline. In addition, I also mentioned that I don’t play self-righteous in all this. I just stated what the Bible is saying. Guess what? Someone reacted.

He reacted to the point that he used terms like “self-righteous”, “Zealots”. By the looks of it, he’s a well-read fellow. What caught my ire is that he said that he’s amazed that there are people who talk as if they know what God likes and dislikes. He also said that there are people who seem to have a literal conversation with God.

I gave a reply. I said that a person is self-righteous if he condemns after he had heard what a brother in Christ did. I also said the “hate the sin, not the sinner”. I also added that there’s nothing wrong with the Biblical principles. What is wrong, I said, is the attitude of some believers AFTER the damage has been done. (Besides, you’ll only excommunicate a brother in Christ if he’s not repentant of his sins AND he’s boasting of that sin).

What I don’t like in his post is not his view, but his post is hate-driven, geared against Christians, the so-called “self-righteous”. I also added that I never have a literal conversation with God. However, I mentioned Luke 16:31, just to hit that wrong attitude of his towards Christianity. Besides, when you say someone is a Zealot, that means that person holds a strong loyalty towards Jewish tradition, and traditions of men are not encouraged by Jesus Christ Himself.

Okay, I admit, there are sometimes attitude problems with church members regarding a brother who sinned before God and men. Christian churches are putting so much emphasis on fornication as if it is the only sin worthy of publicly declaring. What about lying to the point of causing discord? An OPEN drunkard ridiculing a brother or sister? Thus, it is okay to just kick someone’s ass because he was excommunicated or say cursing words because he’s excommunicated (which is VERY FAR OUT OF THE BIBLE). Putting it strictly, all sins are worth disciplining. Unfortunately, only fornication was given the limelight. Still, when you read the Bible, it is not so.

Hours later, I found that he’s gay and has a boyfriend. Now, that makes a perfect sense. Now I understood him. Still, I will abide by what I have said in those posts. After all, I was not self-righteous when I mentioned those posts. In fact, I admitted my past sins. I also said that I’m also a sinner.

Yes, self-righteousness does exist inside Baptist church, but that doesn’t automatically mean that the Bible is wrong about fornication. In fact, a so-called Christian’s self-righteous attitude proves the Bible’s authenticity more. It just shows that the Bible comes from God, and God used men to write His Word (because humans will read it). This only shows that the standards in the Bible came from God as a guide line and protection for Christians. If the Bible really comes from men, you’ll notice biases in favor of the writer, like a Congressman who makes laws that will benefit ONLY him. It is in the Bible that you’ll see King Solomon’s wisdom. It is the same Bible that you’ll see King Solomon who married 700 wives and have 300 concubines. It is in the Bible that you’ll see Samson being the strongest man. It is in the same Bible that you’ll read Samson falling in Delilah’s charms, resulting to his lost of God-given strength, hair, and even his eyes. Rarely will you find a book (if there’s one, maybe they imitated the format of the Bible) that will show a king’s weaknesses. Where did we see that Peter denied Christ thrice? In the Bible.

When a Christians mention Bible verses, that doesn’t automatically mean self-righteousness. It just shows that that Christian want God Himself to speak to the listeners/readers.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Fornication and Youth Leaders and Young Preachers part 3

The last time I heard about him, he defended his side. He said that she’s not his girlfriend. Yes, according to him, the fornication took place. However, he was seduced. Partially, I believed him. Why? Remember what my best friend told me? However, that is fornication. Besides, if he’ll not be disciplined, where is the order in the church? God is the God of order.

Now, why I shared this LOOOOOOOOOOOONG post? I share this to warn Male Youth Leaders and Young Preachers out there against fornication. Especially in our society (especially in Baptist churches), even if you are seduced, still, you’ll still get the BIG BULK of DISCIPLINE. The sad part? The lady will go scot-free, even if she really seduces you guys. Honestly, in the Old Testament times, when two people committed adultery, BOTH of them will be stoned (yes, BOTH). However, we can’t deny the reality that sometimes, even in churches, culture still matters (for example, “marry the girl, you committed fornication with her, so marry her; babae ang amin”).

Don’t get me wrong. There should be order and sets of Biblical standards in the church. Especially in moral issues such as adultery and fornication, a church should have a Biblical standard. However, church people should investigate very well. Still though, especially in the Philippines, youth leaders and young preachers usually end up losers. Usually, it is us who are given the severe discipline. In fact, the girls who made the seduction (if youth leader is REALLY seduced; God knows the truth) just go scot-free. She is considered a victim in this (personally, I consider women who experienced rape and qualified seduction as victims, but if the fornication is consensual, BOTH should serve the church discipline).

Still though, youth leaders and young preachers, let’s be careful. There are really so called Christian women who have pleasures in seducing us. It’s sort of a “women use sex to have power” thing. Don’t get me wrong, ladies. I’m no women hater. I’m just telling that women like these really exist inside the church. Sometimes, they may look and sound harmless, but you’ll be surprised…REALLY!

Take it from what I shared. Take it from me – the one who experienced that kind of predicament. Yes, fornication is a sin, and sin has its price that a man must pay. Thus, be careful guys. When someone committed fornication, you’re not guiltless, guys, EVEN if you’re seduced, especially in a maternal country like the Philippines.

Again, this 3 part posts are not to degrade women, but to remind youth leaders and young preachers about fornication and its consequences (as I have shared it).

May God bless you and strengthen you, youth leaders, the unsung heroes inside Baptist churches and young preachers, the men who helped your Pastors. Keep up the good work!!!

Fornication and Youth Leaders and Young Preachers part 2

Now fast forward. These two youngsters committed fornication. Who shared that to me? The lady. Normally, a youth leader of a Bible Baptist congregation will tell it to the Pastor. I didn’t tell it. She requested me not to say it. No, she IMPERETOUSLY requested for not to reveal it. Being the youth leader, I did. One job of a youth leader is counseling, and as a counselor, I must not reveal secrets of youngsters who shared them (except if he/she murdered someone, or if the offense will divide the church). She approached me like she’s pitying herself. She shared these in text, not in person. However, in the church, she has that sort of a wall when I approach her. I can feel that by her “timid looking handshake” (a timid handshake is not a sign of humility; it’s a sign of pride hidden in timidity). I wanted to confront her about that, but I don’t want trouble. She’s a very different person in text and in person. It’s like jeckle and hyde. She’s soft speaking when talking to Pastor, male leaders. However, an observer can’t deny that she’s a stubborn person, and her being soft spoken is just a front (MAYBE to her parents). In fact, a new youngster in the New Church gave me a text message of her observation – that lady is stubborn according to her.

Now let’s move forward. I didn’t mention anything about the fornication. No, I’m not covering. After all, I didn’t have the time to ask the guy if that is true. Then, the lady told me that she hates another lady who is closed to young preacher. By the way, I almost forgot: she told me that she is the young preacher’s girlfriend. However, I noticed that it’s not obvious. They rarely speak in the church. I consider her words as truth…for the mean time. However, there are loopholes: first, if my memory is right, she doesn’t want me asking the guy regarding them. Second, I have mentioned this before: they rarely speak in the church.

I noticed that young preacher is beginning to be distant to me. Every time I invite him for dinner to talk, he turned it down, saying he’s busy. I also noticed (and many people) that that lady and the other lady are not in talking terms. Pastor started to notice that; he told me to fix this up. That is easier said than done for reasons more than: one, all the lady is giving me is text messages, but I can’t talk to her in person (she has “that wall”. I don’t know. I hope I’m wrong. She often puts herself in the crowd to avoid private conversation EXCEPT with Pastor’s eldest daughter [who is very much younger than she is, almost 6-7 years], but that is only my assumption). Two, young preacher is always telling me that he’s busy that’s why I can’t give him a treat. Only “other lady” is open enough.

Then, weeks have passed. These two ladies have sort of a word war – via internet. I will not mention the details. However, one thing is sure: “other lady” had her comments against lady. During these times, I started to confront young preacher. I asked him if he have a girlfriend right now. He answered “no”. Now that struck me. One of them is lying.

Fast forward. Preacher was sent to be a missionary in his hometown. Now, at this time, two people opened the Pandora’s Box: both of these ladies. Other lady started to comment via the net. I told Lady not to argue with her. I also told her to stay calm. I told her that if the other lady is wrong, it will show in days to come. Still, she wants a piece of other lady. What also caught my ire at that time is for the first time since the time I met her: she chats with a new comer lady (via text). New comer lady shared it to me. Now comer said that lady told her that she and other lady are not speaking terms. That caught my ire. I calmly told newcomer lady not to mediate with both of them. Newcomer lady followed what I said.

Fast forward. The catfight between them went to another level: both of their respective mothers now began to argue with each other. This time, Pastor came into picture.

Fast forward. Both families are not speaking to each other.

Just recently, Pastor made a decision: Young Preacher should come back to Manila within 45 days to explain his side to the affected party (I appreciated that move. He wants things private. Amen! After all, it’s not right to broadcast your sins). If Young Preacher will not do it, his authority to preach will be revoked and his financial support cut off from him. Personally, it’s a nice offer. Not only discipline will be served, but also no excommunication will be involved, and at the same time, his side will be heard (a feast…hehehe). It’s a win-win situation. Still, he didn’t appear. It’s the 6th day when Pastor announced his decision.

Fornication and Youth Leaders and Young Preachers

There’s a preacher I know.

He’s the same age as I am (only a few months older than yours truly). I’ll not mention his background, but one thing is very sure: he had a rough childhood. Still though, the Lord found him. He got saved, began winning souls, spreading the Word during his high school days. He became a seminary student in one of the biggest, most aggressive Bible Baptist churches in the Philippines (nowadays, Bible Baptist Churches are now distinguished from Southern, Conversative, even Fundamental Baptist Churches. Still though, in basic doctrine, these Baptist churches are the same). I met him when I was in the Old Church, and he’s in that Big Baptist Church.

I never thought that I’ll have a chance to work WITH him. I saw him conducting the choir. I saw him as one fourth of the quartet of that big Baptist church. When I was adopted by the New Church, I didn’t see him. Then, around 4-5 months after, the Pastor announced that Mr. Young Preacher will be back to help the New Church. During that time, I was appointed by Pastor as the Youth President of the New Church. He’s a good preacher. No, he is a very fiery preacher. He’s quite teachable also. Despite of me not being a seminary graduate, he followed my directives as a Youth President (honestly, if he didn’t follow me, it’s very much fine with me, but he still did). One time, I heard him say that his greatest desire is to be a missionary in his hometown. Now, that’s something. One trait I noticed though is that he’s quite a man of few words, even with fellow guys. Because of his status as a seminary graduate, he commands respect, though he’s humble looking.

Then, here is this single lady. A college student. I can say that she’s one of the most beautiful people in the New Church (Mom said that also). She’s also the tallest lady in that church, be it single or married. She has the charisma. She doesn’t want to lead, but my, she draws the crowd, be it boys or girls. I remember one time when we conducted an inter-church fellowship. Before the message, I conducted a game. Guess what? She led her group. She doesn’t have that nice girl image though. She tends to be insubordinate. She’s also stubborn. I can tolerate those. After all, I am also stubborn. However, she has traits that bother me (I’m not sharing these to the New Church people). One time, I and that lady text each other, but because it’s late, I slept. The next day is prayer meeting night. I approached her, her dad sitting beside her. I apologized for not telling that I slept. I told her that’s the reason why I didn’t reply to her text. You know what did she say? “What text?” Yes it is. She said that right in front of her Dad. I just said never mind. After the prayer meeting, I arrived home, that lady texted me, “I’m sorry about that. My Dad’s strict.” I understood her Dad being strict and all, but what I noticed is that kind of denial INSIDE the church and to her leader. Even until now, my Pastor doesn’t know that incident. Here’s another one: I invited my high school best friend. After the evening service, my best friend said that he found out that I have a girlfriend. I said no. After all, I don’t deny if ever I have relationship. He said, “but ‘that lady’ said this: ‘so, you’re my boyfriend’s best friend’?” I told him it’s not true. He believed me. However, those words were etched in my head. It’s like my “spider sense is tingling” when I heard that. It’s like a warning sign. However, I don’t like to conclude. After all, as a Christian, I must not judge people. As my Pastor puts it, only God can change a person’s life. He adds that we ourselves can’t change ourselves, how much more others? Thus, I prayed for her when I remember her regarding that weakness of hers.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Me @ 28 last August 4

Exactly 8 days before today, August 12, it was my birthday. Actually, like most bloggers out there, I like to type something about my birthday. However, I have told many people that I’m not the type who broadcast my birthday. No, don’t get me wrong. I am happy when people gave me a birthday greeting. It’s just that despite of my talkative personality, I still have that sense of privacy in me. Now, when someone asks me about my birthday, I will answer them truthfully. When no one is asking, I will not say it.

Mom gave me a treat last Monday in one of those places in Makati City. I was with AC, his wife Sarah, his daughter Ocean, and sweet close friend Amie. Mom was happy when I was with that sweet girl. Actually, a week ago, I bought a guitar for myself (through Mom’s credit card). I also bought for myself a pair of sneakers and something that I wanted to buy since few months ago – a pen tablet by Wacom. I bought the guitar in order for me to sing with it inside the church. After all, I have promised to myself to practice playing guitar at the later half of this year (and other talents, like flute and drawing comic strips). I bought a pen tablet for drawing comic strips.

A day before my birthday, I gave the youngsters and the married people in the New Church a birthday treat. What I like with the members in the new church? They enjoyed the treat and the fellowship. My assistant leader gave me a shirt for a gift. (By the way, sweet girl Amie gave me a Christian shirt). I enjoyed small things like that.

By the way, I’m 28 years old. My birthday wishes? Of course, to go back to the Old Church and finally settle things AND state my side of the story there before the Old Church Pastor declares the case CLOSED (many usually say that past is past, but that is wrong if only ONE SIDE is heard). It has always been one of my wishes since 2006. Another wish is of course, long full life filled with fulfillment and happiness. Many say that God blessed me and my family, and I’m thankful to God for that. However, deep within me still has the need for fulfillment. Ever since I resigned from teaching, I was not as fulfilled now as before. Praise God for He used the youth and music ministry for me to have that sense of fulfillment. My ministry in the church as a youth president is one of the main reasons why I try to overcome my inner struggles. However, deep within me, I believe there is something more. I just don’t want to be emotional and take a plunge. To tell you honestly, I still want to teach, and I’m happy doing it. Many people are saying otherwise. Another birthday wish is to graduate finally from graduate school.

My birthday, unlike most of my birthday celebrations, were not celebrated with so many youngsters greeting you with cards and giving “touchy-feeling” messages (hehehehe). My birthday is not as high profile as it used to be back in the Old Church. In fact, even in the new church, my birthday is celebrated by food, no special programs whatsoever. Back in the old church, there came a point that I’ll celebrate my birthday many times in one week! Though this is a far cry in how I celebrate my birthday back in the Old Church, the humbling celebration of my current birthday is my happier birthday celebrations.

A 19-year-old friend and co-member in bobongpinoy once said to me, “don’t just grow old; grow up!” It is true. I’ll take her word for that. Still though, I’ll not “force mature” myself. I’ll learn maturity one step at a time, even if others will call me “immature” because of that. I’ll still aspire to learn. I’ll still aspire to improve what I wanted to improve.

I’m thankful for my birthday. God gave me blessings other people are still aspiring to get. God has been so gracious to me. There are other people that were not given the chance to reach their 28th birthday. Thank you very much, Lord God, for another year added to my life.