New Year’s Repentance

It’s New Year’s Day and its that time of the year again to make resolutions hoping to change for the better. Below is an interesting resolution that I would like to share a nifty insight from one of the largely misunderstood personalities in the Evangelical world –Brian McLaren, who I believe helped me face the brutal truth of escapism in me and in the Christian faith that I adhere to:
Christians (rightly) tell non-Christian individuals they must repent to be “born again”” You must repent to enter the kingdom of God. You must repent, or you will perish. Now it is time for us Christians to practice our own preaching. We need to look back over our corporate history so far, and facing our failures and atrocities both ancient and recent, we need to repent. In terms of Gerald May’s definition of denial (from Addiction and Grace, Harper 1991), we Christians cannot continue to avoid knowing what we already know: that something is rotten in the state of our religion.

We must not separate ourselves from the past and present Christian failures and atrocities in a holier-than-thou-schism, suggesting that “they” did it –Catholics, medievals, fundamentalists, liberals, whoever –not us. We must not indulge in a naïve-and-arrogant protest, denouncing the failures of our forebears or cousins in the faith with sufficient vehemence to somehow exonerate ourselves. No, rather, we need to say that those bad guys back there or over there are “us,” here, now. We need to say, as the people did in Nehemiah’s day, that we are no better than our fathers (Nehemiah 9). Only that kind of repentance will enables Christians to be truly born again in any way that matters.1

1 McLaren, Brian. A Generous Orthodoxy. (Zondervan 2004) pp.303-304


"The virgin will be with child and will give birth to a son, and they will call him Immanuel”—which means, "God with us." Matthew 1:23 (NIV)

The celebration of Christmas is a way for Christians to remember the good thing that God has done in the past. That is --to have given Himself in love, through the coming of Jesus Christ. Also to usher in the ultimate expression of love that will eventually come in at the cross.

While at the same time the celebration of Christmas is also to enact and bear witness to the Christian hope that one day God would ultimately and physically be with us 1 in the return of Jesus Christ to usher in the New Heaven and New Earth where John’s revelation says there will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain –and that God Himself will wipe away our tears2.

I can only wonder...

I was surprised to learn that not unlike the Christmas Days that I've come to know when I was younger, SM Malls and their departments stores are now opened...and I was even more surprised that even small time beer gardens are open with women in skimpy clothes feeling the chill of the Christmas night...and I wonder...

...does this mean that as a people we're gradually losing our soul?

Christmas in the midst of a climate crisis

The other day I watched a Youtube video of the World Council of Churches Christmas message, given by its General Secretary Rev. Samuel Kobia who in his reflection on the 1st chapter of Paul’s Epistle to the Colossians he lamented:

Christmas is a season to sing praises, yet in our time the reality of environmental destruction undermines the doxology of creation. The singing of the spheres is obscured by pollution and manufactured noise, the rhythms of the sea are disturbed by climate change, the beauty of many manifestations of life is disfigured by abusive practices rooted in greed. And as the earth suffers, so must its inhabitants. Already, the poor and other socially marginalized people find it ever more difficult to lift their voices in song. 1
Writing from a post-Copenhagen Summit state of mind I cannot do anything more than silently nod in agreement and whisper: “how true…”

Merry Christmas from the World Council of Churches

Christmas Message from the World Council of Churches (WCC) general secretary, the Rev. Dr Samuel Kobia.

Click here to read the transcript

Patrick Grant on the church

I am sad now about things related to Christians and the church…

I believe Patrick Grant’s take on the church embodies my yearning as related to the church:
“As a cultural institution, the church preaches its own deficiency while promoting the good it safeguards. The institution protects, but in embracing the anawim it also becomes defenceless and insecure. This is because a church preaching the cross and resurrection preaches against the saving efficacy of religious observance and law; Jesus crucified outside the city wall shows that religion and the state do not save. Yet Jesus also upheld the law, which He came to fulfil and not destroy. The church carries both messages: the message that laws and walls protect and that they do not save.”
Grant, Patrick. Out of Contradiction: Meditations towards a contemporary spirituality. (The Pentland Press 1994) p. 28


I am sad and my heart goes out for those who are sad as well...

Why do people rebuke without the intent of healing and restoration of relationships?

I can only wonder why...

Solus Christus supra Sola Fide

Who's to say that Roman Catholics and Protestants don't have common ground as far as the Doctrine of Justification is concerned?

Benedict Groeschel's take on the age-old argument of whether salvation is by faith or by faith and works vice versa reminded me of how I used to think when it comes to my attitude towards Roman Catholics. Thankfully, I no longer think that way although most of my born again friends think I'm compromising my faith because I believe and would like to talk more about Christ (whom both Roman Catholics and Protestants worship), and His role in salvation which gives common ground for all expressions of Christianity to unite on as far as talk of salvation or better yet justification is concerned.

The attractive prospect of universal reconciliation

Perhaps it is fitting and proper to state first that I am not a universalist.

Being an Evangelical I hold such high esteem towards the Scriptures and its content and as far as Scriptures are concerned there is judgment that awaits all of us on the basis of God's righteousness.

I still uphold the Reformation formula of salvation in Christ alone; by grace alone through faith alone.

The reason I am writing this is because in recent days I had encounters with fellow Christians who hold such a high esteem for Calvin's doctrine of Total Depravity. For them it is an insult to talk about the possibility of everyone being reconciled with God because it diminishes the work of Christ on Calvary. Now don't get me wrong I believe that as well but what I like us all to look at is that this can be looked at on another angle, from the angle of the cosmic significance of Christ work of redemption and that possible reconciliation of all with God on the basis of God's freedom to take in account Christ's redemptive work to be valid for all.

Also under normal circumstances I would agree with them. But at the same time something troubles me –that is the way we Evangelicals act as though we are in the position to determine who is and who isn't going to hell!

on the way to the post office

We were on our way to pick up a package at the post office when we saw a pair of children's shoes beneath the jeepney's backseat, lying beside it is a filled backpack that's secured against several water jugs and at the back of the driver's seat was a pair of spoons and beside the driver were more backpacks filled with clothes, I presume...

On the way to the post office I looked at the driver's face as he glanced at the rear-view mirror.

I thought to myself maybe this is where he and his family lives. A thought that I prayed to God I was wrong.

There on the way to the post office I cried. I wanted to help, but I do not know where to start...

On the way to the post office I cried and asked myself what does this reality say about me --about my faith and about us as a people who's been living on a life based on consumption and complacency?

On the way to the post office I cried...

Revisiting John 3:16

I decided to re-visit that classic verse John 3:16 as I believe this season is a fitting time for re-kindling the flame of devotion to God,

The verse says:
“For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.” (NIV)
For most this sums up the heart of the Gospel. I agree. Although it is not as comprehensive, I believe that this is a good starting point if we are to speak about God and why it is of vital importance for everybody to take heed of the passage's message.

Living in the verge of an utter letdown...

For the past few months I've been undergoing what one might call a crisis of faith.

That is not to say that I'm deciding to part ways with the God I love, but mainly this has to do with discouragement –at church, at other Christians and with those in the faith that at one point in my life I've looked up to. I do not want to feel this way.

In fact, I believe that those who share this disappointment are not enjoy state as well, and believe me I know of people who are close to my heart that are feeling the same way as well. Don't get me wrong I have not gone off to believe in another Gospel, or in another Christ, and no I do not intend to stay in this state forever I am just sad, at how the church that God used to proclaim Christ to me as a kid is also the same church that has pierced my heart with grief for its dichotomous approach to doctrine and practice.

That's why I am writing this hoping that putting what I feel into words that fit nicely in some facet of the world wide web would give solace as I am pondering the possibility of parting ways with the church that I've been a part of since I was a child.

Liberation: God’s saving act in the history of His people

24 November 2009

I was on my way to the seminary when I was stuck in a traffic jam.

Apparently, there was a vigil at the Boy Scout Rotonda in Timog Quezon City, people mostly ‘lefties’ that I’ve known in my past life at the Polytechnic University of the Philippines are congregating in the area with their flickering candles in a ceremony of solemn luminosity that spells out the word: ‘justice’ in the brick-layered pavement of the rotonda.

Little did I know that what I saw as an obstruction on the way to ATS was a reaction to what is now known as the bloody Maguindanao, massacre. Unaware of the significance of the vigil I proceeded to class –and then as if by divine intervention our class of the Book of Exodus endowed our study with this staggering message: God heard, God remembered, God saw, God knew.

Shane Clairbore apologizes in behalf of Christianity

Potter Street Community’s Shane Claiborne is a well-admired brethren as he is among the few Christians within the mainstream Evangelical movement who has vocally expressed disdain for laissez-faire capitalism, not to mention his prominently social activism and service to the poor.

His books have come under criticism from some Evangelical Christians for his theology that his critics likened to the Social Gospel. His radical Christian's ministry for the poor, The Simple Way, has gotten him in some trouble with his fellow Evangelicals.

In an article for Esquire, Shane addresses those who don’t believe, which I hope would be a point of reflection for all of us.

Click here to read What If Jesus Meant All That Stuff?

How much do you know about the history of your faith?

This was a diagnostic test that I recently used as an introduction to the Sunday School series on Church History that I taught a couple of months ago.

If you're a Christian I encourage you to try it and find out how much you know about the history of your faith.

There is no ‘love’ in Fundamentalism

Here’s a niffy trick:

Try visiting the website of your local Fundamentalist Christian Church like this Fundamental Baptist Church that’s very close to my heart because it’s pastured by someone who’s really done a great deal for my family’s spiritual well-being.

After going to the Fundamentalist Church website of your choice try going to their welcome message or their pastor’s welcome remarks or their statement of faith.

In any of those sections in the website type CTRL+F and then once a search bar at the bottom (if you’re using Firefox) or pops up in the page (if you’re using IE, which sucks) try typing the word: ‘love’ and then click the ‘search’ button.

You’d be surprised that the search won’t reap any results in the page that contains the word love.

Doing that exercise just breaks my heart…

Required readings for new Christians on the basics of Evangelical Christianity

For better or worse I would always find myself in association with the Evangelical wing of Protestant Christianity, and although I have a lot to disagree with my fellow Evangelicals I find this tradition still as a viable option as it is the most basic expression of faith in Christ as articulated in the Bible.

There are a lot to be said about Evangelicalism and perhaps this would be a great topic in the coming days, but now I would like to write about books –as in Christian books that are not written by Rick Warren, Chuck Swindoll, John Maxwell and Max Lucado.

To start I would like to say that I am and will always be thankful to God that I have been a part of a church that puts such a high value on reading and fundamental doctrines. Here are some books that I would recommend to any church worker who’s teaching basic theology in their local church.

3 Cheers for Filipino ‘Christian’ mediocrity

Christians in Context made this humorous blog about the 10 Marks of a Mainline Evangelical. Inspired by their post I made this one to fit the Philippine context:

20. Thinks that Martin Luther founded Christianity, because there’s no way those Catholic heathens are right!

19. Thinks that the name of their religion is Born Again.

18. Considers Alberto comics and Jack Chick tracts as accurate historical documents that implicates the Roman Catholic Church as the Whore of Babylon.

17. Believes that God needs them to defend His honor and existence from Dan Brown’s abomination – the Da Vinci Code!

16. Secretly fantasizes about opening a can proof-text whoopass to Eli Soriano, Felix Manalo, Apolo Quiboloy etc in time, for the meantime they’re contented with sparing proof-text with their high school church mate.