Friday, June 21, 2013

The May Chronicle (Last Part)


 

BUT THE MONTH OF MAY FOR ME IS NOT ALL TRAUMATIC, TRAGIC, AND DEPRESSING.  In fact, it has its share memorable, yet positive experience for me, one of the best things that happened to me.  However, it will wait for now. Some people can be mean when they hear stories like this.  They’re acting that they have bigger problems than this “drama”.  I understand and respect those people, BUT I do believe that problems are equal; it is human beings that are not. 

 

In all of this, let it not be said that I’m pointing fingers, blaming people.  If you think that I am hitting anyone here, you’re still in your fish bowl I guess, but I will respect that.  The approach of this chronicle maybe condescending, but I hope that I have mentioned my side. 

 

This chapter of my life will never be forgotten.  In fact, even if I try, it will not go away.  Adding to that are people who will ask you, not because of concern, but because they are being mean.  Some Christians will mention to you Philippians 3:13 not for encouragement but as a “shut up” mechanism.  I am not bitter; I just have what they call a good autobiographical memory.  In all of this, my life continued.  Like I said, I just put these memories in writing.  I saw people forgotten, their side of the story buried with them.  Even with autobiographies and biographies for their defense, they are still forgotten.  Yea, definitely I will be forgotten by my church mates and even by people I have called my friends.  However, let it be known to them that I tried and did my best to give my side.    

 

Thank you very much for reading this with an open heart and mind.        

Thursday, June 20, 2013

The May Chronicle (Part 10)


In a public confession and apology, you will have your onstage exposure for a few minutes, only in a negative light.  After mentioning your name, your face will be on stage for all the present members to see while you are stating your confessions and apologies.  Even new members will witness that, even if they were not yet church members when those things happened.  Some members will attend the church suddenly because they finally will see the “prodigal son”, but some will attend to witness it (another news on their books).  Besides, some people, especially when given the privilege to handle certain levels of authority will make you remember, especially who have axes to grind on you.  Chances are, when not geared properly, there is a retroaction, and I don’t want to put the details of that.  YES, IT MAY BE PART OF CONSEQUENCES, BUT THOSE THINGS INDICATE THAT THERE ARE NO EASY EXITS HERE! Why am I saying this?  From what I heard, prospective and current leaderships don’t want to do public confession quickly even if there is an indication of repentance because they thought it will be a LIGHT THING if public confessions became a common thing.  Wait a second there.  If public confessions and apologies are becoming a common thing, it is no longer an individual problem, but it becomes a church problem.  On the other hand, hypothetically speaking, if public confession and apology becomes a common and light thing, it indicates that something is wrong, NOT with allowing the confessions and apologies, BUT with how the members were taught or oriented every time this disciplinary action is taking place.  Again, doing public apologies and confessions is NEVER an easy exit. 

 

Am I against public confession and apology?  Despite my experience, I am not against it.  In fact, it should be enforced consistently, provided that the act became public or will inevitably become public (in my case, the other side has the tendency to tell it to other people anyway, creating a possible division of opinions).  I will not come to the point of one Bible graduate who mentioned that it is not Biblical, instead of saying that it is a debatable thing.  However, in my personal position (I respect the church’s position by the way) public confession and apology are for those who truly repented of their sins that were publicly known.  Basically, it goes like this: public sin, public apology. Private sin, private apology.  Now, what if the case was not yet known?  Some churches STILL do public apology and confession even if the act was only known to the pastor or both pastors (if BOTH who did the act don’t share same membership).  What is the point of having a disciple without things to make him or her disciplined?  Contrary to the popular belief, a disciplinary action means you put a disciple into order, not punish them.  However, in my opinion, we must stick to the Biblical formula.  I can recommend Dr. Kevin Bauder’s lecture on Biblical Separation to have knowledge of how a church discipline should.  You can even ask your own Pastor, but honestly, in my opinion, the topic of church discipline is a topic that must be discussed by Pastors among their specific circle.   

 

The usual question a typical Filipino, in case of fornication without marriage, is this: what will be the other forms or proofs of repentance?  Now, that is hard to answer without bringing up feelings here.  However, we must know that being a Christian is no easy road in the first place.  There is no shortcut for administering church discipline (this is the reason why I never had a rebellious attitude towards Pastors ad leaders).  Besides, marriage doesn’t equate repentance.  In fact, there are times that it is the other way around.  In addition, we should not even use the church as our “shotgun” to the shotgun marriage that we are coercing.  In my case, going out of that relationship is painful to me, but I have to do it in order not to destroy me and her.

 
I wanted to put verses upon verses on these things, but I would rather accept the beating in the words that I mentioned than God’s Word being blasphemed by haters, critics and indifferent ones.  What is the only possible difference that will rise here?  Nothing will most probably be positively decided.  Worse than that, this can be taken out of context.  If that’s the case, I no longer will care.

Monday, June 10, 2013

The May Chronicle (Part 9)


I didn’t step in that church for almost 3 years not because I am an arrogant, unrepentant person.  Simply put, the church was not allowing me yet all those years, despite my pleadings.  During those years, I made my pleadings that I’ll be allowed foot in the church.  Since they are in the leadership, I respected their decision, BUT this kind of respect was perceived as arrogance, even by some of my loved ones.  I was told that I am being proud that after my pleadings, I decided not to plead anymore.  Now, about being proud and arrogant, I always maintained that accusations of pride and arrogance must not be rebutted.  However, my defense is not against pride and arrogance, but on this matter: where shall I put myself?  Ostracism somehow became a form of discipline.  Yet despite all of this, I respected the leadership even after the restoration, and then I’ll still be called arrogant.  For that one, I’ll just rest my case.

 

 

In all of this, believe it or not, I don’t have any grudges and hatred to my Pastor even until now.  For the nth time, I did this to tell my side of that life story.   This system of disciplinary action has been going on most, if not all, churches under this fellowship.  I can’t blame this fellowship.  In fact, they are not to be blamed entirely.  We were only given a handful of Bible verses on how to handle this situation.  Even if there is a 99.9% chance that one’s interpretation is right on verses regarding church discipline (1 Corinthians 5 for example), human as we are dealing with other human beings, imperfections will eventually arise. It may arise from execution, approach, “technicalities”, terminologies, etc.  Yes, we may argue that God is sovereign and just and the church just did the right thing, however, what we are forgetting is that God uses imperfect people in imperfect circumstances to create a perfect timing of events.  The end does not justify the means; there is a Just and Sovereign God who put order on things that were imperfectly done by US people.  Am I passing the blame?  Nope.  If reading carefully, I have reiterated many times that I’m also fault in all of this, but again, my own share of mistakes.

 

What most people don’t know, in a human sense of the word, is that after a month of not making myself seen in that church, I looked for a nearby church to attend FOR THE MEANTIME.  In fact, some of my non-member relatives are quite skeptical of me attending another “like minded” churches because they fear that there are connections, just like some religions who “directly reports to their central office”.  During those times, I had a “if I perish, I perish” mindset.  Let it not be said that I didn’t find a way for me to grow.  I didn’t do that to avoid the other parts of the disciplinary action.  I did that while waiting for those other parts to be finally executed to me.  What I have in mind is to get back on my feet.  Yes, what I did have consequences.  This is for me trying to be more responsible. 

 

Some people think that by publicly making an apology, it stops there.  Some people think that public confession and apology are easy ticket to go back to normal ecclesiastical life.  In other words, it is just a light thing.  After all, once a person faced the congregation to confess, apologize, and repent, it will be just a year or two of probation (no on stage ministries). This is the very reason why some folks had an idea not to give it right away even the erring member showed signs of repentance.  ONCE AND FOR ALL, please learn from my experience: public confession and apology WILL NEVER EVER BE A LIGHT THING.  Any person who thought that by “just publicly confessing and apologizing”, it’s over and all gone, that person is not thinking really carefully. 

Friday, June 7, 2013

The May Chronicle (Part 8)


After all these years, my defense:

 

Why am I doing this?  Like I said in the very first paragraph, I’m not writing this mainly to hit on people.  This is my side of the story.  Nobody heard from me during those times.  They just saw me months after the dis-fellowship, attending an event in the church.  About that one, that was an understandable, yet sad experience.  The shunning was applied to me.  Here, I have no angry feelings to them, especially at the majority of the present at that event.  After all, for most of them back then, it is their proof of zealousness and obedience.  Their motivation is not mainly Biblical, but rather institutional obedience.  This is not uncommon.  It’s not blind obedience though.  Instead, it is more of giving respect to the elders, both in faith and by age.  I believe that some of the youngsters and even elders alike don’t have an antagonistic attitude on my situation nor do these people have axes to grind on me.  However, as part of their way of showing their loyalty and obedience to God, they will follow what was said to them. 

 

There are words that say that it is I who hold on to the relationship and she’s the one who is giving up.  That is PARTIALLY correct.  Yes, she said to me more than twice that she wants to break up with me.  However, before she mentioned those words, a year before that (I forgot the timeline) it is I who wanted to break up with her.  She said yes…but she said she will expose what we are doing (the fornication) to both her Pastor and my Pastor.  In other words, one of the reasons, aside from love then, why I am sticking to this relationship is FEAR of SCANDAL that she or the one she shared these things will do.  Eventually, I WAS NOT MISTAKEN.  I wanted to give up the relationship and told her Pastor and his wife about it, BUT she squealed the act that we BOTH did when things are not going her way.  Her more-than-twice request of break up occurred MONTHS OR A YEAR AFTER SHE STATED HER BLACKMAIL TO ME.  During those times, she leaving me means she will also squeal what we BOTH did (you know what is crazy about this?  People are biting this like putting me a villain in this particular topic; the acts were consensual.  No one must ever be a villain in kind of act.  Particularly yours truly, I never forced her to do this.  I never even manipulated her to do this.  I just don’t want to dig deeper for WOMAN-kind will not understand. I must not even talk about this part in the first place.  Then, she will cry foul when things don’t go her way?).  Like I said, I was never mistaken: when I gave up, she squealed. 

 

I know of men and women who never squealed the fault of their ex’s or the people who brought them down.  No decent and women   In fact, there are women who were battered girlfriends/wives, yet when they left their man you’ll not hear them squeal.  Instead, they moved forward and loved another one.  Why?  Because deep down, they believe that they used to love each other.  I do believe that if you truly loved the person in the first place, you’ll not squeal even delicate ones and eventually use it against him.  Your love to that person is questionable if you do just that.  If you do just that, even if the person used to love you, if that attack is going below the belt because of lies, exaggerations, and vocal unforgiving attitude, he will have no option but to defend back.  If a person is pushed to the wall so hard and he feels that the pushing will not end, he has no option but to push back.  In the human sense of the word, I loved and gave my best to her.  I defended her. I gave her the best that I could give.  In other words, I did my very best to make that relationship work.  In my defense, let me tell you that I remained totally silent for a year after I left her, trying to fix my life, attending another church and things like that.  However, when they told her Pastor (which eventually I told to my Pastor) that they’re not ready to forgive me, and they don’t want me back YET, that settled my resolve.  Yes, people knew.  I shared it to some people…years after that.  Most church folks did not know my story until I was finally allowed to return.  If she has all the rights to share it and put me as a villain, then I have the right to share my own side of the story.  In fact, if you have witnessed how I shared it, you’ll have mixed emotions.  You’ll either hate me or sympathize with me.  Why?  I also admitted to my share of mistakes.

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

The May Chronicle (Part 7)


Please read the lesson of this article.  Let us not be feministic or macho or “I have no mark of public disciplinary action, why believe in you?” attitude for a while.  Here it is: flee fornication.  Avoid premarital sex if you can.  It’s for your own good and your girlfriend’s good as well.  I’m not being rude to the woman-kind, but let us consider this as a reminder: guys, say “No” even if the girls are the ones doing to the inviting.  The inviting comes in different forms.  The too-close touch.  The sweet “younger sister” approach.  In itself, it’s not wrong, but, like Dr. Kevin Bauder said, “we cannot be too careful.”  In other words, “better safe than sorry”.   Guys and gals, I’m not saying that all women are like this, but if a woman seduced a man, she knows what she is doing, and she knows how to get out of it when the going gets tough.  Be careful guys.  Girls, don’t put yourself in a situation that you’ll look like flirting.  I know women, even unbelieving ladies, who know how to behave well with respect without looking snobbish.  They are friendly, but not flirt.  At the end of the day, girls receive the tapping while guys receive the beating.  Why?  It is because our society works that way. 

 

 

Guys and gals, please, be very careful on the favors that you are granting, even if the person asking the favor is your sweetheart.  No, I’m not saying that you don’t trust your partner.    What I am saying is that if we decided to help a person or granted a person’s requests, we are ready and aware of its consequences.   Because at the end, once your actions are made, especially if these actions are crazy and bad ones, you can’t point your fingers on other people who tricked you in doing things.  After all, it is YOU who did it in the first place.  IN THIS WORLD, MANIPULTORS ARE RARELY ACCOUNTABLE.  The one who DID the act are the ones TOTALLY responsible.  What?!  Conspiracy?  It’s only applicable when someone is murdered.  Standup comedian and actor Vice Ganda said it right when he poked fun on a politician and when people laughed out loud: “Sa tawanan, sama-sama tayo, pero sa barilan AKO NA LANG MAG-ISA?!” (“In laughter, we are together, but when the gun points our way, I’M ALONE?!”)  Sad but true.  Well, I’m not being un-teachable or stubborn or unaccepting with the outcomes; I’m just showing the reality.  This is not only applicable to partners who are engaged in premarital sex.  This is also applicable on money and time management matters.  If it is non-negotiable, say NO.  This is hard, but don’t let guilt trips affect you.  Some people have a nasty habit on stepping on your ego or feeling in an un-Biblical manner when they didn’t get what they wanted.  When that happens, it only indicates that you did the right thing for now.  Besides, if the people are really sincere, the content and circumstances will speak for themselves.

 

There are many details still untold.  For some with long held beliefs on how women and men must deal with things, you will be very much against me.  Despite that, I will never be against someone who had long held beliefs on this matter.  I respect their feelings.  That month of May indeed was so memorable to me.

Monday, June 3, 2013

The May Chronicle (Part 6)


After almost 3 years after being dis-fellowshipped, I was allowed to return.  Now, normally, in an ecclesiastical setting, the term used on this is, “the brother/sister finally returned”.  Honestly, until now, I don’t accept the term.  Why?  Because what really happened to me is, “the brother was finally ALLOWED to return.”  Now, let me try to explain this.  The first term implies that I have a choice.  Am I rebelling to the church?  No.  I never disrupted any ministry and activities in the church, except for the leadership vacuum that I created because I suddenly disappeared.  I am and made myself accountable in the ENTIRETY of those acts, when in reality, half of it must be shared by her.  I accepted the disciplinary action and even the retroaction (not allowed to get in the church and also not being married inside the church auditorium after being restored in the fellowship.  Again, I am not angry when I mentioned this.  She even told things to some church people what I said to them behind my back.  She called me hypocrite…even until now.  Hypocrite?  The way she’s depicting herself at being given the traditional exit tribute).  Martyr?  Any martyrdom on her part is hypocrisy.  It’s her stubbornness that caused most of the situations.  For example, I told her not to work very far from her town and I will be the one doing the visit.  What did she do?  She insisted that she wanted to work at Manila and, according to her, it is her sacrifice.  Sacrifice…also at my expense.  She never accepted the things that I say.  She’ll only accept it when her control freak attitude will become obvious for the public to see.  She asserts herself too much.  I’m not asking for too much.  I am only asking for two things: to understand me.  I didn’t get the understanding that I needed.  If she did, she will not strongly convince me to resign in teaching.  She will understand that she met .  I am not a demanding person, not even the jealous type (actually, she’s the one provoking me to be jealous, even to the point of telling me the details of the “act” of the other guys).  Especially when she got the leverage, she made it see who decides better, who has better strategy, who can do things better, who knows how to negotiate prices better, etc…in which, I DIDN’T EVEN BOTHER.  For the person who sincerely loves a person, WHO is better between both of them is never a big deal. 

    

Recently, I made a written apology to my ex-girlfriend, at the urging of her Pastor, who suggested it in good faith.  At first, I am hesitant.  In fact, when I mentioned the apology, my loved ones said that it is no longer necessary.  Not only that, she’s now married and she has a daughter.  I don’t want to disturb her quiet life.  Now, I admit that I apologized only for my own share of mistakes that I committed.  I didn’t apologize for ALL THAT HAD HAPPENED.  Why?  Because the truth is this: it’s both our fault.  I mentioned it in the previous paragraph.  Am I being bitter in all of this?  No.  Unfortunately, the apology was taken wrongly as an “explanation”.  Maybe she wanted me to apologize FULLY.  It can be done actually, for peace and quiet’s sake, but I decided not to do it.    I can’t apologize for the things that she did to me.  I may have said this many times, but hypothetically, that relationship may not have been a tragedy if she just followed the things that I have said.  However, she wanted to handle the relationship HER way, not OUR way (please, some of you may, “I should have handled it GOD’s way;    I only consider myself PARTLY responsible in all of this.  Why not?  Most, if not all, of her hardships in our relationship is the by-product of her decisions.  In fact, I disagreed with some of them, but she insisted. 

 

She’s so unforgiving.  She had not forgiven me as of this writing.  She was a control freak in our relationship.  My family didn’t hear anything from me regarding this.  How come it will be my fault ENTIRELY when in the majority of our relationships, I allowed myself to be controlled by her?  Therefore, she is partly responsible.  Until now, this is my position.  Misery loves company?  First, my current life is better than before.  Second, it’s not me wanting to blame others totally; it’s her blaming me in MOST, if not ALL the wrong things that happened to our relationship.   She said that real apologies are done in person.  She was right, but after all the things that she did to me, looks like it’s already too much.  She stepped upon me more than enough.  She CAPITALIZED and EXAGGERATED what I did wrong, but she minimized and rationalized her own shares of mistakes, sometimes even denying them.  She is not a martyr during our relationship.  Call me proud, but imagine, asking forgiveness to someone who not only will not forgive, but also will CAPITALIZE on your offense by saying dirty words to you?  I have done my part.  I wish I could have done it better than writing, but I think it will do more harm than good on my part.  What she will do and say after this apology, I believe, is all hers, not mine.

 

She was treated well by my family despite their initial dislike to her.  It is not hypocrisy; it is decency and being Christian enough.  I’m urging her to attend some outings whenever her coworkers are inviting her.  It is her who didn’t.  I’ll not mention the details of my family’s good deeds.  Despite this, she’s unforgiving, not only to me but also to those that didn’t act in her favor.  She has no sense of accountability.  I did the PUBLIC apology ALONE.  ALONE.  In an act of cruelty, she implied that my public apology is not enough since according to her, I didn’t have premarital sex with my church, but to her.  She even added that I deserved to be hurt.  Actually, when she said just that, I felt that a personal apology is no longer needed.  Indeed, there are people that don’t deserve your time anymore.  This is not hate.  This is reality. After all what she recently said, it’s no longer appropriate for me to apologize.  In fact, it is more appropriate for her to apologize to me.  Since day one of my dis-fellowship, it was apparent that she wanted more than my apology.  However, I will no longer force it.  Maybe she loved me less right from the start.  After all, if she loved me, then it will never be hard for her to admit her own share of mistakes.  Ultimately, I felt more relieved when I apologized to her even if the outcome is not what I wanted.  I don’t know why.