The circle of perseverance: A theological reflection on James 1

All Scriptures cited are taken from the English Standard Version (ESV)

Personally, I have always found myself intrigued with the Epistle of James, mainly as in my opinion he seeks to advance a Christianity that bears witness in action, which is a staggering call to us Christians to wake up from our complacent lifestyles of piety and treatment of faith as mere intellectual ascent. Here I would like to picture James as one who draws a circle that starts and ends with the call to persevere in Christ in spite of overwhelming temptation to which he initiates with his introduction as the Lord’s servant and as a brother in Christ who is in some way also going through the same plight of his audience to which he referred to in this chapter as his brothers.

Batman: A City of Scars

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Rarely do I get impressed with fan fiction.

But Aaron and Sean Schoenke’s Batman: City of Scars shows that just $27,000 can put most high-budget films to dust.

Picking up where Christopher Nolan's Dark Knight left off, the Schoenkes produced a 30-minute Batman film. The Joker has just escaped from the asylum and kidnapped a man and his young son, after brutally murdering his wife. The mini-movie debuted on The Daily Motion this past weekend, already with more than 100,000 views under its belt.

Analyze these!

A summary of Grammatical-Structural Relationships from Klein, Bloomberg, and Hubbard’s Introduction to Biblical Interpretation

In this portion of the book the authors’ Klein, Bloomberg and Hubbard’s note the indispensable place of grammatical study in Bible interpretation as Scriptures also finds its place in a copious communication process where the study of grammatical rules that field includes morphology and syntax play a vital role in understanding the written text.

Looking at it in this light reminds me of this experience during church services where I could no longer count how many times I’ve heard the term: ‘temple of the Holy Spirit’ especially at youth services where the minister would make a call for personal piety in the congregation, via the use of 1 Corinthians 6: 19. However, it is safe to say that as far as being true to Scriptures the such an interpretation falls short of its actual meaning if it were to be looked at in its original context –since the use of the pronoun: ‘you’ in the passage has a very different function in the grammatical structure of its original Greek.
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Philippians 1:21 | So help me God...

“For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain.” Philippians 1:21

These words from the Apostle Paul scares me deeply.

After all, who wouldn’t be?

Personally, I find the prospect of my death and the idea of facing my mortality head a terrifying concept to grasp. Especially since the context of such speaks of Paul’s imprisonment, is something that is far-fetched from my complacent urban life, and to be totally honest I am far from ever becoming the person that Paul was. I am still well underway on my journey: I tend to stumble. I tend to fall into temptation. I tend to fail. I tend to look after myself first. I would always to fall short.


A review of Gustavo Gutierrez’s We Drink From Our Own Wells

Publication information
Title: We Drink from Our Own Wells: The Spiritual Journey of a People
Author: Gustavo Gutierrez (Translated by Matthew J. O’Connell)
Publisher: Maryknol, Orbis Books, 1983
Pages: 181

Gustavo Gutierrez is probably the best-known liberation theologian as he has written what remains to be the classic exposition of this movement, A Theology of Liberation: History, Politics, Salvation the book that has permanently altered our modern theological landscape, by challenging us to hear the Gospel message from the “underside of history,” from the perspective of the poor and the oppressed.

Born in Lima, Peru, Gutierrez is of Native American heritage, being of mixed Quechua descent he earned degrees in psychology and philosophy (Leuven), and obtained a doctorate at the Institut Pastoral d’Etudes Religieuses (IPER), Université Catholique in Lyon. Ordained as a Dominican priest in 1959, he lives and works in a poor slum in Lima, dividing his time between pastoral work and teaching at the Catholic University[3]. He holds the John Cardinal O’Hara Professorship of Theology at the University of Notre Dame and has been a professor at the Pontifical Catholic University of Peru and a visiting professor at many major universities in North America and Europe.

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SONA reflection on the state of water in the Philippines

Every year the President of the Republic of the Philippines, opens the resumption of the joint session of the Congress to report on the status of the nation in what we call the State of the Nation Address (SONA).

Early this morning a handful of Greenpeace volunteers and concerned citizens together with Fr. Robert Reyes, Former Representative Nereus Acosta and Former Department of Environment and Natural Resources Secretary, Bebeth Gozun braved Commonwealth Avenue, in Quezon City all the way to Batasan Pambansa, starting their march from Quezon City Hall, where Fr. Reyes was able to speak about the ‘real state of the nation’ in as far as the water crisis that Metro Manila and nearby provinces in Luzon are experiencing as the Angat Watershed’s dam reached a historical low of 157.55 masl last July 16 despite the rains, triggering interrupted water supply in Metro Manila. Prompting water utility companies to implement a water rationing scheme to address the dwindling volume of water in the reservoir.

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For the sake of consistency

A summary of Historical-Cultural Background from Klein, Bloomberg, and Hubbard’s Introduction to Biblical Interpretation

This may come as a shock to many –but the Bible is not written specifically for us.

In the duration of our study in Hermeneutics it has been ingrained in us that biblical interpretation is the process of carefully studying the biblical text in order to understand its meaning and relevance, first of all in the past, and secondly in the present.

Accordingly the process of analyzing the biblical text in its original context in order to clarify or understand what it means implies that the task of the exegete is to allow the text to speak for itself. Exegesis then focuses on the then of the text rather than the now of contextualized meaning. For that reason, Jeannine Brown writes: “exegesis is the task of carefully studying the Bible in order to determine as well as possible the author’s meaning in the original context of writing.” Therefore engaging in biblical interpretation means that the exegete is to be engaged in a cross cultural task, as it involves bridging gaps or distance of time and location, language and culture.

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PayItForward | When I Come Around

This Greenday song was among the reasons why I decided that I want to learn to play the guitar. While Greenday was the band that made me collaborate with my friends: Laix Naguit, Chris Villarante and Jarme Mondragon back in high school to form a punk band.
Guitar/Vox - Laix | Bass/Vox - Chuck | Drums - Mark

Romans 12: 1-2 | Recovering God’s Story

“Well, for one thing, the culture we have does not make people feel good about themselves. We’re teaching the wrong things. And you have to be strong enough to say if the culture doesn’t work, don’t buy it. Create your own.” – Morrie

We live in a lonely world in spite of the fact that recent communication technology boasts that loved ones can now be reached with a few clicks of a mouse or dial of a phone. The sad truth remains that it seems implausible that the number of solitary deaths have been on the rise in countries like the UK and Japan in recent years. Alienation, dubbed the “great emotional sickness of our era” by Italian filmmaker Michaelangelo Antonioni, remains a disease that even email, cell phones and online networking has been powerless to remedy.

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Ellen Degenerate | Sway

This song was written and originally performed by New Zealand-based pop artist Bic Runga, it originally appeared on her album Drive and on the original motion picture soundtrack of American Pie. Here's Ellen Degenerate's take on the song, hope you'll like it.
personnel: jenny - sings | chuck - guitar/sings | ten - bass | mark - drums

Who am I?

Who am I?
This is a existential question that people have asked over the ages. I remember asking this selfsame question seriously back then…. and it only came to me recently that not much has changed…the same answer still pervades –I still do not know…although the difference this time is that the assumptions have narrowed…

The Incarnational Thrust of Biblical Translation Part 1 | Translation as a Theological Task

Not so long ago I wrote a blog about the issue of translation whereupon I borrowed a quote from Gordon Fee where he advises serious exegetes to: “use almost any modern translation rather than the King James Version or the New King James Version. 1

I realized that it is quite supercilious of me to assume that such position should be put upfront without giving ample space for explanation and that is why I would like to use this space to explain why I have said such.

Please note that much of this post this borrows to a large extent from the lecture on Biblical Translation that Professor Noli Mendoza, has given at our Hermeneutics class at the Asian Theological Seminary.

i vous voulez et vous seul

˙˙˙ snoʌ
ɹnoɯɐ,l ǝp ʇǝ xnǝʌ ǝɾ ǝnb ınlǝɔ ʇsǝ,ɔ 'lnǝs snoʌ ʇǝ snoʌ
ǝɯâ uoɯ ǝɔɹǝd ınb xnǝʎ soʌ ʇǝ snoʌ
ʎɐʍs élǝddɐ uosuɐɥɔ ǝʇʇǝɔ ɹǝɔuɐlɐq ǝp ǝɹıoɯéɯ ɐl ǝnb ʇǝ sdɹoɔ ǝɹʇoʌ ǝp ǝɹpɐɔ ǝl ʇǝ snoʌ
suıɐɹʇ sǝl ʇǝ sɹǝılɐɔsǝ sǝl 'snqoʇnɐ xnɐ nɐǝʌnou suǝs un éuuop ɐ ınb ɹǝsıɐq ǝɹʇoʌ ʇǝ snoʌ
ǝɹʌıʌ à ǝƃɐɹnoɔuǝ,ɯ ınb ǝɹıɹnos ǝɹʇoʌ ʇǝ snoʌ
ǝıʌ ɐɯ ʇǝ uosuɐɥɔ ɐl à suǝs un éuuop ɐ snoʌ ʇuǝɯɯoɔ ʇǝ snoʌ
ʇıɐɟɹɐd ʇsǝ ǝpuoɯ ǝl ǝnb ǝlqɯǝs lı ʇǝ 'zǝıɹnos snoʌ
˙˙˙ snoʌ

There is always room for you at the table

I am and will always be thankful for the fact that mealtime in our household is a family affair. My parents never failed to see to it that we drop whatever it is that we’re doing in order to sit and eat dinner together –sharing a common meal, sharing our lives in the company of those whom we love.

It only just occurred to me that this common scene at our house is a theological-goldmine-of-sorts as this portrays a very vivid picture of God, salvation and the fullness of life that God intends in Christ, that only dawned to me after reflecting on it for a couple of days after listening to a lecture on the spirituality of sleeping, eating and drinking.

In order to better appreciate this theological construct we must first come to a realization that life in itself is already a gift.

Writing about the apparent meaninglessness of life in today’s commodified society Craig Gay proposes that: “indeed, the single most subversive and ultimately redemptive idea that we can set loose within the capitalist world today is the simple recognition that life is a gift.” For me this implies that life in all its facets and its utilization are to be conjured up on the things really matter in life –and that is life in the context of community –that can be found in the web of human relationships.
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Ellen Degenerate | 3 Small Words

A cover of Josie & The Pussycats' 3 Small Words. Apologies for the crappy video quality Personnel: Jen (vocals), Chuck (guitar), Ten (bass), Mark (drums) know more about the band on their website

being honest about born again christianity

Although I theologically find myself in the tradition of Evangelical Christianity I would be the first to say that I’m no fan of Born Again Christianity.

Well, true I do believe that it is important for individuals to make a personal commitment to follow Christ, I do however, feel that the way it is presented in contemporary Christian circles is that it is more of a cheapshot placebo wordplay where salvation from the wages of sin and eternal life are peddled into an instant prayer that supposedly assures us of being snatched from the vivid image of hellfire that was used to compel us to receive Jesus as our personal Lord and Savior, as according to selected Bible verses that somehow gives one the impression that the Gospel is being pointed to us at gunpoint.

Bridging the continuity gap

A summary of Sidney Greidanus’ Textual-thematic preaching from The Modern Preacher and the Ancient Text: Interpreting and Preaching Biblical Literature

I speak from experience when I say that I often end up with a confused understanding of a certain bible passage after hearing it preached in a sermon. I gather that it is perhaps because of the fact that contemporary preachers when doing an exegesis on a passage often do not have a framework on recognizing the passage’s theme and not to mention have a systematic method of formulating the passage’s theme that they’ll be delivering in a sermon –thus leading to a muddle up preaching that confuses both the preacher and the congregation that hears the sermon because the preacher failed to bridge the historical-cultural gap and show how the ancient text is relevant to its modern audience.
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Passport Realizations: reflections on the Filipino diaspora overseas

Had this paper been scheduled to be submitted last week, the contents of this reflection would have been different…

But, alas!

Over the weekend life along with all its apparent tragedies and unrealized triumphs happened, and shaped the way I see life and faith from a Filipino perspective differently – consequently forcing me to revise the reflection on the concept of, MABUHAY: Life considered from the innermost of the Filipino people as pondered in light of the Word.
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T-Shirt Theologians 2 | Invoking the radical in Karl Barth

I was reminded of Karl Barth, when I passed by Popular Bookstore on the way to the seminary. There was a huge tarp poster with a posterized profile of the late labor leader, Crispin Beltran, that somehow resembled the face of Karl Barth.

There must be something in posterized images of revolutionaries that seemed to invoke the radical in passionate youths as I remember myself wearing such shirts that back then were deemed to be subversive as it gives a hint of our political tendencies –that was sad to say against that which is implemented by the state, I mean what does the face of Mao inscribed beside a phrase that reads: “Serve the People!” say about me and my beliefs, surely the t-shirt speaks a lot –and the same goes for those who opted to wear Che Guevarra or Uncle Ho instead...

The not so inspired version...

Not long ago I had this conversation with a fresh convert to born again Christianity about Bible translations where he was thrilled to inform me that he bought his first Bible –the King James Version (KJV) upon the advice of more mature Christian mentors that he had at his local church.

What’s interesting about it is the reason why he chose the KJV over other translations is because it is the oldest English translation (I mean 1611!), and that it is closer to the original manuscripts. Personally I have nothing with the KJV I also grew up reading it, in fact I even when I was being discipled by a ‘mature’ Christian church mate I was given a series of Bible studies (mostly from articles written by C.I. Scofield) about how the KJV is the English equivalent of the inspired Word of God.

I am no expert at the area, but now that I’m older I realized that such is a audacious (at worst outrageous!) claim. Since if we were to talk about inspiration we are to talk about Scriptures in the original manner upon which they were delivered –that is in their original language that is why in this fashion we can say that the inspired Bible is that of its text in the original: Hebrew, Greek and Aramaic languages.

happy birthday to me...

I slept 1 AM today and woke up to find myself another year older but not wiser...however the best part of it was that yesterday the clock struck 12 while we were talking: signaling a new day, another year of my life and hopefully a new life with her, the day ended again with the clock striking 12 while talking to her a new day, another year and hopefully a new life...happy birthday to me...