Tag Archive | God

Happy New Year

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Let us keep on being hopeful this new year, and all days thereon.

 

happy

Let us hope for each other.

Let us pray for each other, wherever we are in the world.

I wish all your dreams fulfilled.

Amen.

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Move, On

Once a long time ago I meditated on the instances of happy and painful relationships, either between lovers or between spouses. In my country divorce is not possible. The main reason is that it’s predominantly Roman Catholic, about 98% of the population. The other reason is the way we look at marriage as a permanent thing. Of course separation of spouses happen, as well as infidelity. But since the norm is marriage then even co-habitation is frowned upon. For many families it can incur ostracization of the young lovers. Parents who have cohabited for a long time do not generally make the set-up known, knowing that it will earn some stigma and will affect the children. If they have caring friends these will encourage them to officiate their union even if it’s only a civil rite. Also, civil rites are not as respectable as a church or a sacerdotal sanctioned ritual.

As part of our public education we would discuss marriage and domestic issues in school. One question that came up was if we are in favor of divorce being legalized. That question was taken by us seriously, us not having been raised in an environment where divorce is an open option. The sound of the word “divorce” is equivalent to that of “disaster”, “failure”, “destruction”, “insecurity”, “shame”, “secret”, “lies”, and even “outcast”. The challenge of even saying anything for it, for just the tiniest bit, was daunting.

I did not care much about the question until one lazy summer afternoon as I was spending my usual dreamy lounging time in my parents’ bedroom, where there’s always wonderful lighting streaming inside from two adjacent walls, I came to suddenly put my thinking into considering under what circumstances would I be found to agree on legalizing divorce. I zeroed in on my only answer: violence. I concluded then that a person cannot be made to stay in a set-up where he or she (in our context it’s she predominantly) is constantly in fear of being hurt. But I also thought about what if one of the spouses falls in love with somebody else. Ah, this was difficult stuff to answer as I haven’t been there myself. I had to consider this angle because it seems to be a popular reason why partners split.

Is it possible for a committed person to fall in love with another not her/his partner? If I were married and it happened to me what would I do? This part I had also answered for myself, which in turn made me conclude that choosing the mate isn’t a joke nor a thing to be taken lightly. It definitely cannot be based on hormones alone, although at that time I, too, knew little about this side of things. But, hey, rhetorics is free for everyone, even for budding snotty-nosed university graduates.

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1 Corinthians 13      (click to enlarge)

Of course it’s possible to fall in love with anyone anytime. What kind of question is this in the first place? Is it even a valid question at all? Are emotions and attraction things that can be channeled the way arguments can be tiered one after the other? Is there even a fool-proof theory about loving? I mean, if God is Love, then how does one deal with this phenomenon? All peoples have their own ways of talking about this phenomenon, and does one group of people or language or worldview define the entire humanity, then and now?

For a “love” between two persons who can’t take it to the socially accepted commitment status, like for instance in my country having it labeled as bigamy, which is illegal, then how could this “love” be handled? “If I were married and it happened to me what would I do?” I guess I have to decide and move on. But since I haven’t been married and so have not been initiated into this level of existence, I will not presume that I know anything about it. Therefore, I can’t openly say here anything by way of response to it. Theoretical musings is fine but I would rather show respect to the real circumstance experienced by real people who can’t even start to find words to deal with it, not even in their own private thoughts.

But what if a married man makes me feel loved and I found it honest and genuine and non-restricting, what do I do?

Certainly not go out on a date with him. Certainly not encourage the flirtation. Cetainly not fan my vanity into a blazing ember. Am I nuts? The guy is married. He has committed himself to something that excludes anything else at par with it. As one of my favorite shows would say, “Wake up and smell the coffee.”

But what if I, too, have started to love him? Ah, then that’s another story. To smell the coffee I think I would first and foremost honor his honesty and courage in making me aware of his care for me. I mean, who am I to reject such a wonderful gift? It’s “love” after all, it’s something unfathomable. It’s from God. It’s God’s language.

Then I would refrain from asking too many questions. I won’t even ask questions at all. I would nip all questions in the bud. Here Heisenberg’s Uncertainty Principle applies: defining an electron’s state alters its state. I will refrain from putting my finger on anything in order to pin it down, they be descriptions, qualifications, quantifications of this “love”. Any attempt to pin it down, in this context, will result into a failure. Defining it will destroy it. Getting hold of it will cause its demise. I would leave things as they are, without defining them — be they concepts, words, situations. They will not be turned this way and that for closer examination. They will be left as a blur and will not be designated into compartments or categories. Their rawness will be respected. That way they will not be suffocated, robbed of air, and fester for the lack of it.

As this “love” is there, then what could be done with it? Why, celebrate it, of course. It is not “forbidden”, for goodness’ sake. Love is free, is encouraged, is induced, is given, is spread out, is scattered. The world has been constantly suffering because love has been twisted and restricted and deformed and castigated. But since, in the context I’m talking about here, it’s in an instance where care has to be exercised on its behalf, then I would suggest to take this “love” into another plane of existence. It cannot be insisted on the same plane where it will foster suffering, because that’s not its purpose. Love is something that affirms our humanity, it is a life-giving phenomenon, and hence it does not belong to the arena of suffering. Don’t ask me more about how I speak of it here because, my dear, words are not adequate to speak of this phenomenon in this angle.

So maybe I’d say I’d let this love dwell with the clouds, let it float on the calmest of ocean surfaces, let it flit with the wind among the many branches of as many trees that greet me on my way to wherever everyday, let the leaves’ rustle talk of it to me. Let my echoed footsteps be chants of meditation on it. Silent. Abiding. Subdued. Sometimes even forgotten for a while but certainly there, accompanying me, holding on to the tips of my hair as the breeze blows imperceptible strands here and there, sometimes.

So I won’t conjure physical manifestations of it. “Fantasies” and “possibilities” are words not even entertained. I will not “insist” it; will not “force” it into “fruition”; will not “fight” for it — these avenues does not belong to “love”. Read 1 Corinthians 13. This is the only way I can show respect to my emotions, by not straining it with emptiness, not feeding it with conjectures the probabilities of which approach zero. This, too, is the way I could love my self in this context, and so lift my self up from the plane of senselessness.

It was a poem by Emily Dickinson (1830-1886) that prompted me on this reflection. Here it is:

I cannot live with you,
It would be life,
And life is over there
Behind the shelf

The sexton keeps the key to,
Putting up
Our life, his porcelain,
Like a cup

Discarded of the housewife,
Quaint or broken;
A newer Sevres pleases,
Old ones crack.

I could not die with you,
For one must wait
To shut the other’s gaze down,
You could not.

And I, could I stand by
And see you freeze,
Without my right of frost,
Death’s privilege?

Nor could I rise with you,
Because your face
Would put out Jesus’,
That new grace

Glow plain and foreign
On my homesick eye,
Except that you, than he
Shone closer by.

They’d judge us-how?
For you served Heaven, you know,
Or sought to;
I could not,

Because you saturated sight,
And I had no more eyes
For sordid excellence
As Paradise.

And were you lost, I would be,
Though my name
Rang loudest
On the heavenly fame.

And were you saved,
And I condemned to be
Where you were not,
That self were hell to me.

So we must keep apart,
You there, I here,
With just the door ajar
That oceans are,
And prayer,
And that pale sustenance,
Despair!

—————————–
There’s an explanation of it here:
http://www.poets.org/poetsorg/text/close-reading-i-cannot-live-you
—————————–

hope-robin-pavitrata-500

I also wanted to explore what I could say in resonance to it, from a different context.

So, I’d say, “I love you, and I must pick my self up from here and carry on, as well as I can possibly do. This is the only way I can show God, and you, how much I honor and value Him, and you.”

I hope that the way I spoke of it isn’t as sad-sounding as Dickinson’s expression here, of her love. Here’s another of her poems, an encouraging sounding one that I copied from http://www.shortpoems.org/emily_dickinson/


Have the best of days, everyone! 🙂



“Just the Way You Are”

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I didn’t know that “Just the Way You Are” is Billy Joel’s song, back in 1977. I have liked that song ever since I can remember. But I knew Billy Joel only from his 1983 “Uptown Girl”, a fast song, and hence I associated him with such. Well, better late (at finding out of his range of musical prowess) than never.

Among the song’s lines (these have) fascinated me the most:

I don’t want clever conversation
I never want to work that hard, mmm
(I just want someone that I can talk to
I want you just the way you are)

Billy Joel _singing Just the Way You AreI was prompted to write this post when I discovered, upon seeing a video of him singing the song, live and on the keys, that this stanza is the refrain in that it’s the one he repeats before he ends.

At first I could hardly believe that I was looking at Billy Joel in a formal suit. Then I noticed that he was sweating profusely. That, itself, was fascinating to me because it seemed he was not bothered by all this liquid on his face. Then I noticed, while the camera was focused on his right profile, that a trickle of liquid is highlighted on a path on his cheek that does not seem to be on the continuity from  his forehead. I would have loved to have turned to someone sitting beside me and ask, “Is he crying?”

I have always highly regarded this song. Since this is the first time I have seen somebody singing it live then I wanted to believe that Billy Joel was singing it straight from his heart. Maybe he was singing it to a specific somebody. I liked his “cool” performance because I thought he did not “try hard” at “acting out” at sincerity. He came out as simply sincere.

Recently this song’s “I don’t want clever conversation; I never want to work that hard” has become even more significant to me as I continue to circulate among people who “have lots to say” <– which exactly is what I, many a time, catch my own self doing 😀 😀 !!!

I can’t remember when was the first time I practiced putting my cerebral goods out into the open for those in conversation with me to see that I have managed to save lots on my tabula not-so-anymore rasa. If I did not know much about the subject then I would resort to expressing interest on it, using inquiries, by way of relating it to something else I would know more of.

So I was saying, that recently I realized what I was doing, and what the game everybody else seem to be playing. Clever conversations. Gak. It’s draining on the, um, I don’t know… nerves? … qi? … soul? 😀 whatever 😀

Did you know that for the Inuits they traditionally believe that too much thinking insults the spirit? And have you heard of the story about Africans who were hired as luggage carriers by some foreigners (or was it to guide in the hunting??) that one day, after hiking non-stop for days, they simply stopped and sat down and refused to move from the spot until, they said, their souls have caught up with them. I love both of these expressions against “thinking too much.” ❤

I guess I’m starting to really grow old now. Heheh. I feel like I have tried to participate at the parade of peacocks, have tried to compete, and then I only discovered that unless one comes out as “simply sincere” then all the sashaying is an insubstantial game. Hollow. A babel of sounds that fall on deaf ears. Poor overworked brain cells 🙂

Suddenly I am reminded of C. S. Lewis’ explanation on the thin line between pride (in association with being “good”) that is okay and pride that is foul. The parade of peacocks was how he illustrated one of those. With their feather-fans all out in proud display. (This is in his book Mere Christianity. This is among my favorites because it was one of those that started opening windows to me.)

Okay. Now my blah blah blah is complete for the moment ❤ Take care! And if ever one of these days you find yourself  sitting down on your haunches ruminating on this supposedly God’s-love-for-you thing, then I hope you’ll recall this song’s lovely line, “I love you just the way you are.”

 

You Will Always Be Loved

There are things that can never be fathomed; but ….

There is One who does this the best way possible. His love is unconditional.

If there’s someone in this world that you love like the freshness of mornings then let the person know of it, in your own way, in the way that God will show you from there, deep in you, where His river of life flows.

…also in memory of Mr. Robin Williams, one who has deeply moved me more so now in his passing away. May he find peace in God’s tender care at last.

Faith and Rubik’s cube

The Rubik’s cube is fascinating. It reminds me of what life is like. Rubik's cube 1 _green

Life is a series of acts in order to put things into order. Order order order. For me I see life, mine at least, as being put into order at some other parts while [I] am occupied with putting into order some other different part.

I have forgotten about this feature in my life until I recently spent time getting to know a 3 x 3 Rubik’s cube. To my delight I saw that when I try to get a side into a single color the other sides may form distinguishable patterns all by themselves.

Rubik's cube 2 _redThere are those who, like me, do not congregate towards the “very” end of the “orderly” spectrum. I may be called lazy by some, but I know I’m not lazy. It’s just that the way my clock runs isn’t the kind that will stand out in the corporate world. Instead, my clock runs in such a way that I take the time to appreciate patterns that aren’t interesting to others. No, I don’t have the aptitude for the mathematical way of describing patterns, so that’s not what I’m talking about, either. There’s just too much stuff needed to be able to math-talk that I run out of time for them. Nevertheless it would be wonderful if I, too, like the mathematicians am able to cook up a statement describing how the color patterns come up when this and that turning is done on a Rubik’s cube.

Rubik's cube 3 _nearlyThe way I, or you, put our lives into order may be objectionable to others. There are those who express disapproval at the way we do things. It could also be that we try to put our lives into order in such a way that we won’t be at the receiving end of a disapproval. Whichever way it is we do feel the tension between these two ways tugging at us. For me it is couched as “what should I do?”

We all have our own pattern-appreciation-languages ::: musical notes, weaving patterns,  words on a page, lines+shapes+lighting, or sound+movement+lighting, angles+weights, trajectory+speed, food tastes, taxonomy, almost-no-words-but-full-of-thoughts (e.g., the haiku) … et cetera

Rubik's cube 4 _nearlyThere are also those who, like me, aren’t experts at a particular pattern-language but all the same we are uplifted whenever we spot an evidence of one.

If you believe in God then this shouldn’t be a surprise for you. Thousands of years ago humans have already become aware that God causes patterns to form. He puts order out of chaos.

Rubuik's cube 5 _orange

At center stage, my Rubik’s cube on my table where my study things are pushed to the side for the moment.

I am typical of my folks. We get to laugh at almost anything, not the least at our own selves. It helps us cope. It helps us from going down that road which is lethal to those who have “nothing”. I needed to put that within quotes because, one, it is subjective, and two, “nothing” doesn’t seem to exist. That’s what I understood the last time I looked up science. But, I fervently request you, don’t discuss creatio ex nihilo with me yet because I haven’t read up much on that. If you want, in relation to it, you can look at discussions about an ancient Mesopotamian composition that starts with “When on high” … 😀 that’s all I can remember for now 😀

I don’t know which part of the world you live in, but just in case you are also like us who are nakakapit sa patalim (living on the edge of a knife) then let the lesson I discovered from the Rubik’s cube encourage you. Just keep on no matter how hard things are going because somehow there’s a pattern forming at the other side, waiting for it’s perfect time to come up in your life’s story.

Thank you, Mr. Garfitt.

Jesus came to banish fear.

jesus of wigan  Though I haven’t gone through the entire book yet, the few parts that I have read so far are making good sense to me. For one, I can see that it’s obviously made out of love, that it’s a true labor of love, and it deserves much respect and consideration. Thank you, Francis Garfitt, for writing this fascinating and refreshing book about a living man and a living story that was calcified within just a few pages two thousand years ago.

I have always gone by the thought that if truth is in God, that if ‘truth’ is an embodiment of God, then there’s no way of disproving Him nor that our insistence on “defending” Him will add to that truthfulness. In pursuing my personal studies on that distant world of two thousand years ago when Jesus of Nazareth shook his world, I would like to listen to this particular voice that projects Jesus’ story’s context through a personal conviction using the platform of the contemporary world. ‘Evangelism’, after all, is not limited to the mainstream’s definition of it, if the reader sees it as that. A storyteller is by all means entitled to any artful way of delivering an old story with full relevance. We, those of us who want to keep on telling a story that has been stamped ‘unchangeable’, may just have to take the courage to step out of the silenced crowd and speak in a way that will make the story enabling again even to those who have been rendered numb by the challenges of everyday survival — the way that Jesus of Nazareth did. That’s love.  Jesus of Wigan

What I especially find refreshing among the narratives is the inclusion of the scientific perspective in order to bring about a multi-perspective handling of whatever scene is featured. In this book science is integrated as a tool for looking at what is. The outcome resonates with the Hebrew worldview where things are dealt with integrally, like for example that a human being is not allocated into body-&-soul parts. So far I can see it doesn’t pretend to know everything yet it’s a humbling book. It will make one look at things differently, make one recall the time when one realized that things are not what they are as seen on the surface. It will encourage you to love. It will confirm your simplest reasons for wishing for happiness.

(Note: Today is May 19, 2016. This was written 2 years ago. I need to update it soon. I just got to find the time. Get the book if you can. Jesus of Wigan by Francis Garfitt. You will like it even if you’re not interested in the religious side of it. ❤

Update: May 20, 2016. I edited the original script and added a few words. Still, that is not the ‘update’ that I meant. It will then look like a review of the book.)

Thanks for dropping by. Have a great day, everyone! 🙂

🙂

  • 🙂 I have your book today, in paper. I don’t know when I can finish it considering that I’m not supposed to do anything else besides looking for certain things in books for a year at least, but actually I’m now on John’s first baptism. I’m liking John and I can easily connect him with that John in the desert, both with passions of that intensity. But how I wish I knew more of European economy/history so that I could get more laughs out of your quirky statements — I mean, I had my first big laugh at page (though unnumbered) 3 of Introduction and I anticipate that there are lots like it in this your thickish book. Though I think I just go open some more of your book for reasons other than greed for knowledge, otherwise things will just not get right with me. One has to be ready for the things that you say in here 🙂 . What made me confident enough to get a copy was that a few days ago I finally had a gut feeling of what evil is. The subject of evil isn’t an attractive material for me and so I haven’t read up on the academic discussions on it, nor am I interested in the macabre in popular media. But recently, in a flash, I realized that I understood that evil is the attempt to choke/snuff out/strangle life, to negate life. Something happened to me and I felt like I was going to be annihilated, something is trying to deny my essence, and if I let it be I would end up a living dead, a nothing — and so it dawned on me that this, then, is what evil is. I decided to find a way to stay alive despite the presence of this thing that would callously wipe me off from existence if I let it. So I thought that a retelling of Jesus’ story like the way you’re doing is worth looking into, with the horrors of modern metropolitan living, and they shouldn’t disturb me as much anymore due to my newly found knowledge (haha looks like this leads me further into my “knowledge-of-good-and-evil” musings…). I’m wary like this because I’m not familiar with big city living, and the little that I’ve experienced of it I didn’t really like… but I do like the way you explain the will to power … I agree with what you say in there … and I can’t help wanting to catch your words at each right-hand page because they look like they might fall off any time — this was the first big laugh, actually 🙂 THANK YOU for your great effort in this book. May many people come to read it.

     

  • Dear Sacadalang,

    thank you so much for the comment and for buying a copy of my book. I’m glad you are liking John. He is based on a guy that I met whilst doing some voluntary work. He was working as an ‘enlightened witness’ with other ex-prisoners and this idea of a ‘witness of the light’ kept bringing me back to him whenever I tried to visualise John the Baptist. I was genuinely humbled to meet him. I only met him once, but maybe that is how life is.

    I think that your gut feeling of what evil is, is important. George Macdonald wrote of the shadow inside us all in his book Phantastes, a fairy story for adults. In it he wrote that the affirmation of evil is the negation of all else. So take care of yourself, negation is anti-hope, the anti-social anti-value that builds on feelings of isolation, then anger, then destruction… either of self or others. In the same way that the key to madness is personal to each of us, so is the path to oneness. I love your blogs, their enthusiasm and infectious joy. I don’t know all the films and TV shows you mention, but what I enjoy is learning why you enjoy them. So keep it up, we are all part of the pattern.

    It took me 7 years to write the book, and I always felt that if it touched one person then that was worth it, that whatever I was doing meant something more than just another writer with another book. Sometimes I felt like giving it up as a bad job, and even now I’m not happy with it, I can see the flaws, particularly in grammar. So thank you once again for taking the time to read it.

    kind regards

    Fran

     

  • Dear Fran,
    thank you for replying, for the reply, for Phantastes, for John, and for the encouragement — yep, I have a good idea now about the self-destruction and the wanting-to-quit parts, thanks to my experiences — ach, the grammar, well, grammar does not rule so to say … all I know is that I’m reading a genuine specimen of contemporary British English and for me that’s good enough 🙂
    -wishing-you-a-nice-week-
    ang sacada lang

     

    ❤ ——————- ❤

    ( 4.0 out of 5 stars Philosophy with a difference 8 Aug 2013  /  By Viv M)
    I found this book shocking at times and unlike any other “religious” book I’ve ever read. It is an imaginative modern interpretation of the gospel story. I enjoyed the references to Wigan, and there is plenty of humour. It’s a retelling of history with complex twists.
    ❤ ——————- ❤
    4.0 out of 5 stars Are you on the path? 4 Aug 2013  /  By Mark S If you are trying to find a path to faith this book will help. The authors take on the New Testament and the disciples of Jesus provide some great reflective moments for the reader, which disciple are you? The author’s link to modern day diseases, such as the craving for power and certainty, provide an interesting view of the New Testament story and highlight how shallow our modern day lives have become. Our constant desire for instant gratification and oneupmanship are clearly exposed in this insightful work.

    A great read and it really challenged my thoughts. This book has really helped me to think more clearly about what Jesus was really trying to achieve. I don’t agree with all of the authors views but the thought provoking nature helped me to further understand the Bible itself. Well done a great first book.

     

 

how next, Lord?: battling incoherence

Lord, it’s been a long time, since, since when, when I could, I would, think.

it’s been a long time… here I am, again, sitting before You, Lord,

with nothing, with all that I have been, I was, Lord, I’m…

.

…I have to start. I must continue. Lord, how?

.

how will You do it, Lord? Where to? Is it possible? Can we do it? Isn’t it too late yet?

.

Here we are at it again, Lord. And it has become more improbable than all those, the rest, ever were. By the world, I would tend to blame myself. But I’m not ready to, I mean, I won’t blame myself. There are blind spots and it could be said that this is how it should be, that I’m in the best position possible.

.

Lord, please help me not to be afraid and not to lose hope. And help me to work properly. Just help me to work, and hard, and not stop until I’d nearly drop.

.

Let’s do this again, Lord, like we did all those, the rest, together. Let’s go.

🙂

If Not Luther, Then Who?

Just as I suspected.

Years ago I found this thick paperback on Martin Luther’s biography and I was disillusioned when I realized that interest in him wasn’t enough to get me through the book. I had a bit of confidence then because years earlier I had learned to brace myself through Silmarillion and The Abolition of Man. I just had to mention these two so that you’d have an idea of what I could make myself go through, and not to brag, because before I put a period at the end of this sentence I’d be confessing that I really had a hard time with those two, plus admitting that I don’t remember nor understood everything I read but that I did make it to their last pages. There.

Now that I’ve decided to check out Martin Luther again to my relief I’ve discovered that I can more or less absorb what I’m reading. But. He’s a difficult subject.

I’m not reading from that same paperback that I had earlier (I don’t have it with me now). I haven’t yet mustered the courage to read his works. I’m still looking for footholds from which to view him, identifying from which perspective I could possibly view from so that I’d be able to see well. I scout for posts in internet sites. I’m so happy that there are so many generous people around the globe taking their time to talk about ideas that are obscured by rhetoric and jargon.

Just as I suspected: Martin Luther won’t be an easy reading. If you want to understand what I’m trying to say here then you have to check him out yourself. From various sources. Not just from one. Don’t stop until you’ve seen differing views.

Do I like Martin Luther? I mean, like the way I like Schleiermacher, Tolkien and Tagore? No, I don’t. Whenever I think of Luther I get pictures in my head of fiery hell and gloomy purgatory. Of cold monks’ cells. Of 100,000 very dead peasants. Of words so spoken that it would leave me dumb and numb. Of words so bombastic that to keep my sanity I’d have to seriously deliberate with my thoughts which light to follow, his or the one’s he speaks against.

Alright. All that is looking at the half-empty part of the glass. On the part of the glass that’s filled this is what I see: if it wasn’t Luther who did that, e.g., 95 Theses then, then who? Who would have wrestled the Bible away from the scholars and make it available for the common people? Luther had the personality and the temperament. Melanchthon, who was a better scholar than he was, couldn’t do what he did. Whatever forces were behind his motives and actions the result is that many people became encouraged to look at the world from a different perspective.

I look at it like this: if the earth were not this distant from the sun then conditions would have made impossible for the biosphere as we see it now to exist. There has to be the magnetosphere and the ozone layer for the likes of us and the animals around us to thrive. I also look at the sizes of the moon and the sun: one is enormous and the other is a fraction of a dot but seen from us they’re of the same size simply because they’re respectively positioned that far away from us. If it were not so then we would never have witnessed the beauty of the total solar eclipse.

So, yes, I guess I could say that he was there at the right place, at the right time, to do what he was supposed to do. That’s my gut opinion. I can’t defend that argumentatively. I can only submit it with my usual smile. I’ve already accepted that he’s a difficult reading, and that means this has to do with all those philosophical, historical and theological issues that by consequence will be involved in studying him, and at the side taking into consideration contextual vis-à-vis psychological/anthropological/social questions.

I really wish some serious scholar would dare a comprehensive research on his personality.

Before I end this post there’s one important thing I’d like to share: I believe Luther had a satori. Really. 🙂 Because he figured it out that only God has free will. That is, the will that’s really free, constrained by no rules, belongs to God and to Him alone…  …and I feel like this is in the realm of my there-are-no-rules thought, the one that I was babbling about in the previous post… 🙂 🙂 🙂 …peace…

there-are-no-rules

glimpse of lightI may have had a satori. I may have had not. I think I had a satori. I believe it was one. It certainly may have been. Who knows. You can laugh at me. Call me a fake. It’s okay.

Weeks ago I was sitting on the toilet and suddenly it came to my mind: There Are No Rules.

I cannot say this to my teachers, because there ARE rules.

I thought of my father and grandfather, and I wonder what they’d think if I told this to them. My grandmother certainly wouldn’t agree. Nor my mother. There certainly are rules. They’d probably agree with me if I’d explain to them, but then I don’t have the words to do so. I don’t have the words. I can’t explain it even to myself. Nor do I want to.

I thought of God, and His majesty, and His order, and His beauty. There are rules, obviously. I thought of Job, who at one time rebelled against the rules, but then, he, too, would agree with me, that, certainly, there are RULES.

waterThere are rules. But I meant it when I concluded that There Are No Rules. Suddenly somehow my mind was at rest a bit more than before. I was not even compelled to reason against this thought, because I felt that it is a fundamental whatever-it-is — I can’t call it “fact” because that sounds empirical; I can’t call it “truth” because that sounds ideological.

I thought of all the people in the world, the many languages and sounds, different words, different thoughts, different events, different experiences, and I felt that the barriers between us will fall down when we realize that there-are-no-rules, making the act of caring for one another simpler and matter-of-fact, a consequence of being alive…

Yet I know there are “rules” and I don’t want to go against them lest I support “chaos”. I have always been a “good” student and I hope to never dishonor my many mentors. So please don’t get me wrong, because I’ve deliberated between keeping mum about it and sharing it, and I did so hoping that it’s part of the “yeast” that works out to the life that Jesus wants for us all…sleep

…now that it’s come to me that there-are-no-rules I feel freed somehow and, believe it or not, I do thank God for this, and just let it rest in His hands for now…

Meditating, After Super Typhoon Yolanda

[This post was created on Sunday, November 10, 2013]

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Today my going to Church and taking communion had the special intention to be in solidarity with my countrymen the Filipinos in the wake of one of the worst land-hitting hurricanes in recorded history. Googling images using the terms Philippines, Haiyan, and Yolanda will be enough to get the whole picture… go ahead, please… because I hesitate to post some here…

Haiyan is the hurricane’s international name, Yolanda is its local name. The Y of Yolanda reflects the advent of this hurricane to us at the end of the year almost, since we name the typhoons alphabetically. Hurricane, typhoon, and tropical cyclone refer to the same thing, which is a type of storm.

I feel like picking up the entire sprawling archipelago and hug it tight, to comfort. The amazing thing is I know that somehow my mga kababayan (countrymen) will get over this because that’s how we are. Generally we’re simply naive that we can’t even think of berating God the way Job did. In Hiligaynon we’d all at once say in a resigned tone, “pag-buot sang Maka-ako”, with a bent head. The will of the Almighty.

The area worst hit by Yolanda had also suffered a magnitude 7 earthquake recently. Philippines is along the Pacific Ring of Fire as well as in the path of tropical cyclones. We are also affected by the El Niño. With these three things, at the least, it is easy to understand why our faith in God is a given thing. It doesn’t ask for philosophical considerations or systematic qualifications. Our faith in God comes as easy as breathing, a constant, so much so that even the worst of disasters is not strong enough to shake us off it. On the contrary, it is our lifeline and so the harsher the experience the tighter we cling to it. [ 13.Nov.13 Updates, below, links to 3 research websites, help elucidate what I’ve written in this post]

Earlier in our history there were those who called out to Bathala, a name that now has come to be heard throughout the archipelago by way of lessons in elementary school. Theologians will argue that this Bathala is not Yahweh or Elohim. This argument is irrelevant in this post, for a special purpose…

… Because I would like to translate Joey Ayala’s song Bathala into English as my way of being one with my people. I need to render Bathala as God in English, otherwise it won’t make much sense. I assume that when Mr. Ayala composed this piece he was referring simply to God, the One that the overwhelming millions of us go to church for on Sundays. I assume that when Mr. Ayala made this song he simply used Bathala to refer to the One whom I believe created everything, the Creator referred to in the Bible. Okay.

It can be argued that the globe is undergoing the cyclic ice ages and so humans have very little contribution to the warming. Okay. I don’t want to argue against that because I’m not an expert in that field. However, humans do so many things that result in the release of chemicals in the atmosphere, whose prevailing presence in turn blocks the escape of heat into outer space — the so-called greenhouse effect. Still, even if the cyclic ice ages is indeed the culprit of global warming it does not follow that we are free to do as we will with nature.

We do not have the freedom to unleash greed. Cutting of trees for profit. Mining for profit. Synthetic compounds for profit. Indiscriminate consumption for pleasure. The worship of ease and comfort. We are so submerged in greed that we cannot anymore tell between it and our skin. It cloaks us. Our souls are so soaked in it we feel like dying without it. We simply must consume frantically. We simply must have money in amounts beyond embarrassment.

The Homo sapiens sapiens is guilty of greed, from the poorest to the richest, from the most ignorant to those with multiple doctorates. So I appreciate it that Bathala is what Mr. Ayala used instead of Panginoon (Lord) or Poong Maykapal (God Almighty) or Diyos (God) because the song is like a confession of my people of the guilt to which we are part of. The mega-conglomerates of the global economy come to my mind as I meditate on this song yet I am reminded of Jesus’ words: forgive them for they do not know what they do.

butterflies The Mahatma Gandhi and Michael Jackson have said to the effect that if we want to change the world then we must start with our own self. “Be the change you want to see in the world.” “I’m starting with the man in the mirror.” A little less greed goes a long way. It’s a butterfly effect, like the phenomenon with the storms: a reduction in the propensity to consume will create a chain of events of unimaginable scale. Who knows, it may even prevent more super hurricanes from occurring again. Hurricanes are the collective manifestations of teeny-weeny changes of atmospheric pressures here and there over time, of tiny butterfly-wing drafts so to speak.

In calamities such as Yolanda my mga kababayan are simply too occupied to engage in blame games — that’s far from our thoughts. In solidarity, therefore, with this post I celebrate today’s going-to-church spirit of my country and render into English what sounds to me as our collective confession and supplication. I rest my diwa (inner self) and refrain from pointing a finger. Mr. Joey Ayala, sir, in case you come across this, please tell me on the parts that I got wrong; and I hope it’s fine with you that I have your song here, shared with the rest of the world. Here goes:

Bathala (God)

Bathala

Likha Ninyo ang bawat bagay sa mundo

Lupang kayumanggi’t luntiang bukirin

Alat ng dagat at tamis ng hangin

Oh God,

You created everything,

the brown lands and verdant forests,

the saltiness of the seas and the sweetness of air.

 Ang bawat bagay na nagmula sa Inyong palad

Ay may tungkulin sa mundong kinagisnan

Sa pagtupad nito ang lahat ay tinitimbang

All things that came from Your hands

have their own purposes in nature, the home they were reared in —

— the fulfillment of which entails reckoning to the detail.

 Ang tao

Inyong hinugis at pinaahon sa lupa

Pinagkalooban ng  talino at diwa

Upang mundo’y ipagyaman

Mankind —

him You shaped, established on earth,

provided with intellect and soul,

in order to enrich the world.

 Talino

Naging ararong nagpaamo sa parang

Naging kumpit  na sumagupa sa karagatan

Naging apoy na nagpalayas sa karimlan

Intelligence

became the plow that tamed the land,

became the vessel that battled the ocean waves,

became the fire that banished darkness.

 Sagana

Sa kayamanan ang mundong Inyong likha

At may bahagi rito ang bawat nilalang

Kung susuyuin lang mula sa kalikasan

Abundant

in wealth this nature You have created

and all creatures can partake of it

were the acquisition of them be done mindfully.

 Subali’t

Buhay-dalisay ay ‘di sapat sa iilan

Sila’y nasilaw sa kinang ng kasakiman

Ganid na diyos ang sinamba

However,

simply-living for some is not enough,

they were blinded by greed’s glitter,

they worshipped a selfish god.

 Pinaghati-hatian po nila ang lupa

Karagatan at himpapawid ngayo’y may bakod na

Kapwa tao’t hayop ma’y inaagawan ng tahanan

Walang nakaliligtas sa kanilang karahasan

Kaunalaran at kabutihan daw ang kanilang sadya

Subali’t ang lumilitaw ay ‘sang panggagahasa

They partitioned the lands among themselves,

the high seas and the atmosphere now have fences;

his fellow man and even the animals are robbed of their homes.

None are safe from their cruelty.

They say that progress and well-being is their aim

but what has turned out is violence.

 Bathala

Ako’y hinugis Nyo’t pinaahon sa lupa

Ang aking buhay ay dito nagmula

At dito rin inaalay

Oh God,

You shaped me and placed me in this world,

 earth is my origin/my sustenance comes from it,

and my life is a gift to it.

 Bathala

Bigyan lakas itong inyong tanod-lupa

Upang umiral sa mapagsamantala

Panalangin ko’y Inyong dinggin

Harinawa, Bathala.

kalabaw _Filipino farmer plowing a rice paddyOh God,

give strength to this earth-ranger of Yours

so to prevail against the opportunists;

may You hear my prayer;

so be it, oh God.

maraming salamat po sa mga may-ari ng mga litrato (thank you very much to the owners of the photos)

13.Nov.13 Updates: