Friday, May 31, 2013

The May Chronicle (Part 5)

Am I at fault?  Yes.  First, I committed what the Bible calls fornication or in modern term premarital sex, which the Bible told that a Christian must flee or avoid.  I had a choice not to put myself in a situation that it will be in the inevitable.  Is the dis-fellowshipped SOLELY my fault?  Even today, I will say that it is PARTLY my fault.  Why partly instead of entirely?  There are circumstances in which I really, really tried to settle.  I told her how to behave in our church.  I told her how to interact with people that you don’t like.  She didn’t do it.  Yes, she is doing it sometimes, when it is becoming very obvious (not reasons like insecurities, but again, I’ll not use them as an excuse.  Am I being unrepentant for saying that? NO.  After all, I knew in details of what I did wrong.  I accepted the hurriedly made disciplinary action.  I understood them for that.  After all, in my opinion, human as we are and divine as God’s church is, there’s no perfectly executed church discipline.  Yes, churches are equipped because they are familiar with Bible chapters like Matthew 18 and 1 Corinthians 5.  However, other factor kicks in.  Another factor to consider is the style of church governance.  In a Congregationalist system of church governance, voices or sectors are usually divided into the following: the single men, the single ladies, the married ladies, and the married men.  Nowadays, another sector is rising: the semi or full feminist.  Name it.  When they saw a woman is in distress, they will side with her and fight for her. How the discussion goes depends on who are the most influential.  In the case of semi-Congregationalist churches, these sectors are still significant, but this time, the leadership of the few decides.  In a “theocratic setting”, this time, the Pastor decides. 


Even in this theocratic setting, the Pastor also takes into consideration the dynamics of the sectors.  Ultimately, he will also consider the offended party’s side.  Brethren, please take me wrong in saying all of this.  Whether we admit or not, our judgment is affected not totally in light of the Scriptures, but partly of the behavioral dynamics of our own church.  Sometimes, we call this discernment.    This, in my opinion, is the reason why my dis-fellowship status was extended for almost two years.  I was never angry or rebellious.  I accept this as a reality.  I see my Pastor as an ordinary person doing extraordinary works, doing a God-ordained church discipline.  Unfortunately, human as we are, there are really loopholes on how we execute it.  Instead of Biblical, it is partly becoming political.  I believe that these are all hard for him and also for my ex’s pastor.  We don’t want to hit sectors, or we are afraid these significant sectors will go out of the church because justice, they might say, is not served.  In my case, we wanted to have a form of justice to be given to the offended family.  In other words, we need a sacrificial lamb.  Did I accept the disciplinary actions that were to me? Yes.  In fact, even when I eventually got married to the lady, the disciplinary action became retroactive: I’ll not get married.  Not to mention that my youth leader’s traditional exit tribute or what our church calls “Ecclesiastes” were.  People usually say that if a person truly accepts the verdict and/or punishment, he will not speak and shut his mouth.  However, it’s not the issue of what I feel; it’s the issue of accepting and not putting a stop on those retroactive disciplinary actions.  Am I being rebellious in all of this?  No. Witnesses can attest that I never hindered any church related work.  Of course, there are usual disagreements on certain decisions, just like any regular church member (unless you don’t care), but generally speaking, I practiced loyalty, not by label or political alliance, but by affections. 

Thursday, May 30, 2013

The May Chronicle (Part 4)

I went back to Manila few days after the ecclesiastically-used shot gun marriage proposal (no offense and hurt feeling on the church; I’m just laying down the situation).  My mother gave this wonderful piece of advice: stick to your intended original plan (which, back then was one year from that date).  She added that if the woman really loved you for who you are, she will understand the exact situation.  (Besides, personally, I don’t want to have a civil wedding followed after church wedding.  I want a church wedding or a Pastor officiated wedding ONLY).  I texted her that.  Obviously, she got angry and told her mother about it.  Her mother threatened that she will go to my church that very day to tell my Pastor about it.  I was hurt and devastated.  Outsiders will understand that what they are doing are understandable, and I was wrong in saying so.  That’s another point against them lacking accountability; they used, again, unwritten rules.  I gave up my optimism.  I felt that this is ALL HER, no room for ME.  I thought that an offer of marriage will change her attitude.  They became too pragmatic.  They wanted to be so sure.  Wait, after all the hardships that I went through because of her selfishness and controlling attitude, I am the one who will adjust again?  I gave up.  I asked for my Mom’s help.  I didn’t show up both on her and also at the church; I went into hiding.  For outsiders, this is a classic, “a guy have sex with a girl, then left her”.  No way!  Now, the reason why I hide is this: it was a one-way traffic.  She is not as helpless as a typical soap opera hero.  She is not the timid, submitting type.  She’s the assertive, competitive type.  In fact, she ALWAYS WINS even if deep down, I don’t really care if she wins or not.  I’ll tell time and time again that it is both OUR fault.  Besides, she always had proven time and time that she’s tougher and more assertive than I am.  I agree.  Now, why is she acting helpless when she’s tougher and more assertive and had proven that over and over in our relationship?  Why did they bad mouthed my family when they never did that to them in the first place?  Why did they scandalize my life when I really, really tried to keep this as private as possible?  Yes, that’s all part of the consequence that I must accept, BUT not because a person is used as a vessel of consequence does it mean that the person who was used is already spared from one.        



The church dis-fellowshipped me.  I don’t know when exactly; I just found out.  They did the inevitable.  They dis-fellowshipped me.  Defenseless.   That doesn’t end there.  She spread the news that we were living in.  (What a categorical lie!)  Even when I was restored in the fellowship, despite having a new girlfriend then (now my wife), the disciplinary became retroactive; no marriage in the church auditorium.  Our marriage will be held outside that auditorium and into the church gymnasium (we didn’t get married in the church property.  Good thing that I and my now-wife never intended to get married there in the first place, not because of any negative feelings, but for the convenience of both our relatives, who are both coming from South Luzon).  Not only that, I was not given the traditional exit tribute usually being done to former youth leaders. (The argument is that it is not a former youth leader’s right to be given that TRADITION, but a privilege.  Point accepted.  Now, therefore, it depends upon their discretions on who will have such exit tribute.  I didn’t push that one).  The dis-fellowship, the way I saw it, was intended for a year, but it didn’t happen.  When the church is planning to restore me a year after, they asked for her side if they want me restored.  Obviously, they said no.  To put it specifically, her mother said NO.  From one year, it became almost 3 years!  In all of those times, I prayed, I constantly asked and plead.  I wanted to be cuffed and sentenced, but they don’t want, saying that I have no proof of repentance (marriage).  For the mean time, I attended a church in all of those almost 3 years.  Because of their understanding and trust on me, I decided not to put them in all these details. 


Wednesday, May 29, 2013

The May Chronicle (Part 3)

I admit that our relationship became physically hurting.  NO, I NEVER SLAPPED OR PUNCHED HER.  Yes, I pulled her…but because her behavior is becoming scandalous.  In other words, I literally pulled her out of the scene.  Oh well, maybe the ideal thing to do is just leave her cold much to her embarrassment, but, like I said, she has leverage.  She was psychologically and emotionally hurting me.  I allowed myself to be controlled by her.  I was controlled even to the point of convincing me to resign to teaching, my first love.  My preparation is teaching.  I got the job. Yes, not paying well, but sure is the job that I was prepared and was good in that.  When I resigned into teaching and went to our family business, the controlling becomes more apparent, as she usually calls up to go with her in this and that or I “needed” to be with her. 



After more than 2 years, I decided to give up the relationship, upon my Mom’s advice.  My plan is to mention it to her Pastor and his wife of my decision I m.  By the way, remember what I told you on making me look like a mean person in the eyes of her friends and even my church mates? It’s true.  I have that in mind.  However, the plan backfired.  She cried and revealed the fornication.  Her pastor, wanting to do it orderly and in the system (He’s a good, humble servant of God) brought these things to my Pastor.  The decision?  Marry the person plus public apology plus public apology.  My plea to solve this privately was not heard.  Yes, it was heard, but my Pastor persuaded me that it is better to do a public apology confession than do it.    In all of this, she did not want to face the crowd for a public apology and confession.  This is one of the indicators that she doesn’t have any sense of accountability even if she had a part in all of this.  We did the act consensually together, why shall I receive ALL the beating?  Still, in all of this, I retained my optimism.  I decided to go on this indirect shot gun marriage.  This is definitely a shotgun wedding; the only difference is that there is a church and the house rules were used as the shotguns. I thought things will go smoothly now that I agreed on marriage.  Unfortunately, not only did they.  Okay, outsider’s viewpoint will definitely say that they have the right to be very assertive.  It’s their daughter that was hurt.  Yes, “hurt”.  I agree with that outsider’s viewpoint.  This is a clever way of using the unwritten rules of society.  That’s also another example of dodging partial accountability and partial blame: she and her family used few informal logical fallacies (knowingly? Unknowingly? Subliminally?  I don’t know): appeal to poverty, and appeal to weakness.  It became worse than I imagined.  She and her family really dominated the decision making.  They asked for the wedding date; financially all by myself and with them draining my resources for quite some time (through their daughter’s pleading), I gave them 7 months because of drained resources.  They disagreed angrily.  THEY WANTED THE WEDDING IN 2 WEEKS!  They, especially his father, argue that since we enjoyed the deed, we must accept the consequence.   I never argued to him, although I can answer him by this: then let your daughter also suffer if we BOTH enjoyed it.  Still, I never argued, he had this notion that her daughter was helpless.

Monday, May 27, 2013

The May Chronicle (Part 2)

Why I clung in all this for two years?  Two reasons: belief that she will eventually change and something happened between us.  What about the second one that I mentioned?  I’ll not give the circumstances in details, but the thing is this: WE committed pre-marital sex.  I’ll never justify myself using sob stories.  That one is so wrong, BUT the act is consensual.  BOTH of us WILLFULLY did it.  Too bad that’s all I can say.  Being raised and is an active Christian youth leader then, I have no peace of mind in all of this.  However, this kind of sin is like a chain, especially if the other party does not share your concern.  Normally, it is a welcome idea that the other party is not giving up, but in my case, she’s not giving up, yet she doesn’t want to give up certain things, but she wanted to give up things.  It’s a one way traffic.  She depicted me as a jealous type, but life events will tell you that it’s the other way around.  I verbally said that I wanted it over, but she put the “experience” as leverage.  “Leave me, I’ll tell your Pastor”.  It then became blackmail.  To those in the fundamental circle or in hyper fundamental circle, you somehow have an idea: “you did it, marry the person. 

If you don’t want to marry the person, you’ll be dis-fellowshipped.  That is only form of repentance acceptable in case like this.”  In our church, dis-fellowshipped means that you will not be a ‘part of the body”.  The exaggerated term is that you are kicked out of that church.  If you happened to be seen by them, there’s a high chance that you’ll not be greeted deliberately because.  Because of this possibility or near-inevitability, Being a private person, but I didn’t lose hope in that relationship.  “Things will go fine.  These are all trials.  She will eventually change.  Maybe it’s all ENTIRELY my fault.  Because of this, I will just change for the better.”  That was my mind set.   However, as days go by, she becomes meaner and meaner.  Just like any decent person, I wanted the misunderstandings as private as possible.  IT IS NOT HYPOCRISY; I just tried to be as decent as possible.  Unfortunately, I was not given the kind of decency.  She will make it appear that we’re “at war”.   Like a typical boyfriend, I wanted to end the day, with our misunderstandings settled or just have the decency not to make it appear that we are not on good terms if the problem or conflict can’t be solved in one day.  In order to do that, usually, I just leave her boarding house to avoid further fights…only to be provoked by her going to the place where I have my usual activities (church usually).  There, she’ll make it appear that we are “at war”.  She’ll not talk to me.  She’ll have that sarcastic stare.  You know the church atmosphere; they feel it.  Actually, back then, I felt that she will not stop until I am provoked or got so angry.  I somehow proved it many times.  Here’s an example: one time, I told her that I’ll be very busy at the youth event that I could not accommodate her during the event itself (not before the event).  I told her this 2 to 3 times days before the event itself, much to her annoyance because she finds it repetitive.  Suddenly, a day or two before the event, she asked if I can fetch her an hour before the event.  She even strongly suggested me that I can be late in the event itself, which I disagreed for obvious reason (I was one of the organizers).   Looking back, I think she willfully didn’t understand what I am talking about.  Not accommodating means that I can’t also fetch her (the Tagalog term I used is “maaasikaso”.  It means more than accommodation; it means to go to details like fetching and stuff).  Besides, when I told her that, she should have given me a room for understanding.  After all, we’re seeing each other every day, to the point of me going home at around 10pm or 11pm.  Over the phone, she got angry, and didn’t talk to me.  I tried soothing her but I can’t.  She’s too strong; she acts like a martyr when in crowd, but literally, I suffered the beating.   Even during those events, as one of the organizers, she did what is deemed.  This is all because WE committed fornication.  She made a fool out of me.  She used that sin of ours (not only mine, but ours), putting as solely my fault for her to do things that she wanted.  There are times that she will cry because she’s too tired of me.  However, I am very much willing to give it up, but what is the price?  Her blackmail plus her tears that will break any sincere Pastor’s heart!  Unknown to them, however, she somehow has no regard to certain authority figures.  It is evident on how she is so angry at my Youth Director (my immediate boss) on ending the Youth Leader’s meeting at around 10 or 11.  All the good deeds and sacrifices that I made and also her cruel mistakes to me are eventually covered…PLAINLY BECAUSE WE COMMITTED FORNICATION.  This is her leverage. 

Monday, May 20, 2013

The May Chronicle (part 1)

Allow me to share this finally.  Yes, I know I have shared this verbally to people.  However, I want to write this.  I am not writing mainly to hit against anyone.  My life experience will attest that my confrontational approach only applies when in discussions, but, in normal life, I avoid confrontations, unless provoked (which also improved by the way).  I felt compelled to write this despite the good things that have happened to my life after hoping for readers to learn from me. Recent experiences and encounters make me see that people easily do two things: forget your good deeds and/or dispose it into oblivion (we call it revisionism).  We often hear of women being a martyr, being physically beaten, and being used up.  May this serve as enlightenment!  Call me stupid then, it is okay.  Call me bitter, unforgiving, it is okay.  Especially right now, I am aware of what I truly did and what I feel in all of this.  Besides, you’ll have your share of stupidity in your life, and chances are you will have a much better excuse than I do.  Forgive the poor chronology of this article as I am typing this on how I remember it. 
Exactly this month, years ago, I used to love someone.  After 2 years of convincing myself that things will go from bad to good, I decided to give up my ongoing relationship.  The usual cliché is “long story”.  Besides, our society dictates that guys should never write in details AGAINST their ex-girlfriends.  However, since my motive is for you to learn on different perspective, I’ll bend that “unwritten rule”.  I’m fed up of this one sidedness. 
I used to love the person as who I am.  This means in my imperfect, immature, BUT loving, generous self.  I put it that way in order to show you that I am a person of defects, but still knows how to love and pour out myself.  Whose fault is it you might ask?  I’ll not say only her, but definitely not only me.  Why the emphasis?  Just read on.
I decided to give it up because the situation is getting worse than before.  The fights.  The control freak attitude.  Later on, years after I left her, I discovered that even during the times that we’re together, she will say things behind my back.  That I am this jealous type of guy.  That I am mean.  I also learned that the very reason why no friends of her became my friends is because she’s depicting me as a mean person, and she depicted herself as a martyr.  Hence, no wonder why I was given a cold treatment every time I greet and smiled at them sincerely, because, I hate to say this, they were made to believe such lies.  There are some senses of truth in what she said to them, but the “add-ons” look so real it will pass as truth. 

Thursday, May 2, 2013

Back to the Basics...of Basics and Preferences

Preference and Basics

No, I'll not contend, confront, protagonise, even antagonise schools of thought, be it in Philosophy, Theology, Liberal Arts, 
Preference.  Like I always say, I am not an expert or formally educated into those disciplines. 

What we shall try to do is to clearly define two terminologies prevelant whenever discourses and discussions are made: preference and basic. Correct the grammar if you want, you may also put it as "preferred" and "basic".  Through this effort of defining these two terms  near-clearly, if not very clearly, there is a possibility that we can draw the line and a possible introspection or self examination.

The term "preference" comes from the word "prefer".   "Prefer" comes from the Latin word "praeferre", a combination of two words "prae" (before) and "ferre" ("to carry", hence the word "ferry" rings a bell). Combining these words mean "to carry before".  Digging deeper into this word, prefer indeed implies options or choices. You "carry" the chosen thing/person/idea "before" the other things/persons/ideas.  The word was first used in the 14th century.

Basic, on the other hand, comes from the word "base", which comes from the Latin word "basis". The Greek form of "base" was defined as "step".  By digging to this, indeed, basic is anything about what is "being STEPped upon", which is the ground. That's why "base" is also used to describe low forms of people, which is not appropriate to talk about as it is offensive. Going back, base is the ground, the foundation, the essence, the important ones. It was said that this word was first used in the 13th century.

Basic things are things that are important in life. Food, shelter, clothing, are said to be the three basic physical needs of man. Without one of these things, we shall not survive, whether we like it or not.  Preferred things are things that are picked by choice. We are confronted with two choices, choosing one from the other will not make you less of a person.  When you chose between two non essentials, you will choose one depending on your personality, background, etc. However, when confronted with a choice between the basic and preferred things, and there are no options, definitely we choose what is basically needed. now, ignoring the basic in favor of the preferred will be described by the observers as crazy or stupid. Mix the definition of the two? Now that is dangerous.   I am not pointing specifics here. These things are somewhat applicable in every facets of discipline.

Now those last sentences may serve as insights. May we have drawn the line intelligently, gracefully and with wholesome sincerity.