Tuesday, June 30, 2009

I know I have forgiven if...

Originally posted on The Point.

As I read Catherine’s book As We Forgive, it reminded me of the forgiveness issues I have in my life that I daily bring to the foot of the cross. The men and women in her book suffered a great deal; by comparison, my own experiences are nothing. They all have to come to terms with people who did horrific things to them, and I only have to deal with forgiving myself for the poor choices I’ve made in the past.

It made me reflect on the question "How do I know if I have forgiven?" And it revealed once again some of my flawed understanding of forgiveness. Unfortunately, all of us are guilty of such flaws. I wrote down some things to remember about forgiveness:

I know I have forgiven if...

I no longer have feelings of anger or bitterness.
I have asked God to forgive the other person.
I have asked the other person to forgive me.
I have confronted the other person.
I have attempted reconciliation.
I am willing to allow time to heal the wound or get on with life.
I can say “let's just forget about it.”

What's comforting to realize is the fact that I don't have to be flawless to experience God's forgiveness. No one is required to change to be proven worthy of His forgiveness. The only evidence needed is my life submitted to the presence of Christ.

Friday, June 26, 2009

King of Pop, R.I.P

Thanks to The Point I saw this blog post by Andrew Sullivan that also reflect my thoughts on Michael Jackson. He said:

There are two things to say about him. He was a musical genius; and he was an abused child. By abuse, I do not mean sexual abuse; I mean he was used brutally and callously for money, and clearly imprisoned by a tyrannical father. He had no real childhood and spent much of his later life struggling to get one. He was spiritually and psychologically raped at a very early age - and never recovered. Watching him change his race, his age, and almost his gender, you saw a tortured soul seeking what the rest of us take for granted: a normal life.

But he had no compass to find one; no real friends to support and advise him; and money and fame imprisoned him in the delusions of narcissism and self-indulgence. Of course, he bears responsibility for his bizarre life. But the damage done to him by his own family and then by all those motivated more by money and power than by faith and love was irreparable in the end. He died a while ago. He remained for so long a walking human shell.

I loved his music. His young voice was almost a miracle, his poise in retrospect eery, his joy, tempered by pain, often unbearably uplifting. He made the greatest music video of all time; and he made some of the greatest records of all time. He was everything our culture worships; and yet he was obviously desperately unhappy, tortured, afraid and alone.

I grieve for him; but I also grieve for the culture that created and destroyed him. That culture is ours' and it is a lethal and brutal one: with fame and celebrity as its core values, with money as its sole motive, it chewed this child up and spat him out.

I hope he has the peace now he never had in his life. And I pray that such genius will not be so abused again.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

"Noli Me Tangere" on Penguin Classics on Air

As a follow up on my post on Noli Me Tangere here's a link to Penguin Classic on Air, an online radio show featuring an episode devoted to Rizal's the Noli.(click link below).

Thank you Anonymous commentor and Good News Pilipinas.

Episode 2: The Noli
José Rizal and the Novel That Sparked the Philippine Revolution

Elda Rotor of Penguin Classics interviews Rowena Jiminez about a José Rizal/ Noli Me Tangere community read-a-thon organized through her nonprofit group Bagong Kulturang Pinoy, and speaks with Harold Augenbraum, the translator of the Penguin Classics edition of the classic... And Stephen Morrison, associate publisher and editor in chief of Penguin Books, offers up the opening to José Rizal's Noli Me Tangere in his segment, "First Pages."

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Penguin Books publishes Jose Rizal's "Noli Me Tangere"

Rico Hizon of Good News Pilipinas reported that Jose Rizal's Noli Me Tanghere will be publish by Penguin Books for worldwide distribution. Penguin books is the largest publisher of classic books and its selection of Noli puts the beloved novel by our national hero within the ranks of other books by other classic and iconic writers.

The last time I read Noli was in high school, so I need to read it again do give a better opinion on the book. But as product manager of the BreakPoint's Great Books Audio CD Series, I do know that classic works of fiction are often better moral teachers than other inspirational books and other forms of media because classic literary works of fiction have stories, images and symbols that parallels Biblical truths and can help connect or ask questions that help readers search for God. Noli Me Tangere, whose title is based on John 20 is one book that falls in that category.

Related article: Why should Christ-followers read fiction? Click here to find out.

(Image from Good News Pilipinas)

Friday, June 19, 2009

Virgin Again

After my post on Filipino actress Rica Peralejo's choice to remain celibate before marriage, I saw this interesting post via The Point (where I'm also a regular contributor) that links to an article on another artist choosing to remain faithful and chaste before marriage. This time its international rock star Lenny Kravitz. Just when you thought that all rock stars are into drugs, sex and big egos, Lenny Kravitz's seems to be going against the flow. He said:

It took years to get it right. To actually do it, and really try to walk the walk and not just talk it. It’s not like it’s not important – I think sex and intimacy and all that is very important. It’s just that I’m going to do it with my wife." He laughs. "And not everybody else."

This summer, not long after he turns 45, it will be four years. The final trigger came after a night in the Carlyle Hotel in New York. (His apartment was under renovation.) "I was doing my normal thing and I was with somebody, and I remember waking up in the morning thinking, 'What am I doing?' It’s not that I was all over the place. It’s not, like, groupies or somebody you’d pick up on the street. I didn’t carry on like that. It was somebody that I know. But it was still, 'What am I doing? And why?' And that morning I was just talking to God, as I do, and I said, 'You got to help me to stop this. I just really want to stop this.' And that was the day that it changed.

Since Pinoys are natural music lovers and many follow foreign acts like Kravitz, I hope many single Filipinos specially public figure will follow his (and Peralejo's) example of taking an open and shameless stand for celibacy before marriage. There's no real fun in being promiscuous thus he chose something better and more satisfying, that is to be a virgin again- a mark of a wise man.

(image from The Telegraph UK)

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Finding the Real "Himala"

Last weekend's IndioBravo Filipino Film Festival in New York City prompted me to watch again the movie Himala (Miracle). Himala is considered one of the best Filipino films of all time and recently voted CNN Asia Pacific Screen Awards Viewers Choice Award - the Ishmael Bernal's film beat Akira Kurosawa's "Seven Samurai" to the top prize.

The film deserves its critically acclaimed and iconic status not only because of the story but also the performance of its lead actress, Nora Aunor.

The film is full of strong Christian worldview message about a young woman named Elsa (Aunor) who claimed have seen the Virgin Mary, start healing people and causing a hysteria in her small isolated town, Cupang. The film tackles religion, faith, faithlessness, sin, repentance, purity, truth and delusion. The heart of the story is the question: Are the people of Cupang putting to their faith in the divine or not? The film is a good reminder of the long time struggle of man to find something to believe in.

The most notable scene or line on the film is Elsa's revelation Walang Himala! Ang himala ay nasa puso ng tao... ang himala ay nasa puso nating lahat! (Translation: There is no miracle! Miracles are in the heart of a person... miracles are found in all of our hearts!)

The line is well-known in the Philippines and most famous line of Nora Aunor. Though there's an element of truth in that line through the film's lenses, in real life, our faith should be not what's in our hearts but who is in our heart. If Christ is in our heart, then you and I have what it takes to see and experience the real himala.

Hope you can see this classic film.

Embedded below is CNN Screening Room's feature on "Himala"

Monday, June 15, 2009

Imelda Marcos Weeps, Says She Has No More Money

Imelda weeps because according to her she is poor. Nakakaawa? Eh mas madami pang mas mahirap kaysa sa kanya. It reminded me of what Jesus said in Matthew 6:21 that where our treasure is, there our hearts will be also. Makes one think - if I were to loose all my money and material possessions today, how will I respond?

For the latest Philippine news stories and videos, visit GMANews.TV

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Is Self-Defense Consistent with Your Christian Beliefs?

The article I posted on The Point blog about the pastor who encourages his congregation to bring their weapons to church started an interesting conversation on the Christian perspective on self-defense; and with the distrubling crime news I recently read from the Philippines, the topic became more relevant to reflect on. The question, is self-defense consistent or inconsistent with your Christian beliefs?

Personally, I don't find any problems with self-defense which includes martial arts and gun ownership as long as its applied under upmost understanding and responsiblity. What's unChristian is, applying these things for pride or ego. It goes back in the Imago Dei, the truth that we are made in the image of God- the perspective that we have value, worth and dignity. If you believe in the right to life, including your own, because you're made by God, then there's nothing wrong with wanting to protect it and defending yourself and others (family) from attack.

What do you think?

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

No Kiss Rule: Filipino Actress Rica Peralejo Takes a Stand

More on my Saturday afternoon spent watching TFC. I saw a brief interview on Filipino actress and TV host Rica Peralejo during her guesting on game show Wowowee. She's recently engaged to her pastor boyfriend of 10 months and host Willie was curious if her decision not to be kissed during their relationship was because her boyfriend was a pastor. She gave an impressive answer and for a brief moment revealed that she truly turned 180 degrees away from the sex symbol image she once portrayed on the silver screen. She responded something like this:

He could be a businessman o kahit ano pa trabaho nya. But I would still make the same stand. Kasi marami na rin naman akong pinagdaanan and I found out that it doesn’t really work that way. I don’t condemn people who do that kaya lang, sa lahat ng pinagdaanan ko I really like to be careful.

Kudos to Ms. Peralejo for taking a strong stand and setting a good example to other women and couples that abstinence before marriage is possible. Tunay kang dalagang Filipina. May we see more public personalities living out their convictions like you.

(image from filipinoexpress.com)

Monday, June 8, 2009

Philippines TV Broadcast News?

I saw two full episodes of GMA’s Saksi and ABS-CBN’s TV Patrol via my mom's TFC channel last weekend. The program reminded me why I am not so impressed with Philippine broadcast journalism anymore. What’s obvious and what usually irritates me is the showbiz news that pops out I think every five minutes of the entire news program. And what’s up with the police reporting? I find it over the top the way every murder or strip joint raid in your local “kanto” is reported as if it’s a national headline. I know our local media is doing its best to pursue journalistic excellence, but I am concerned of this trend that in my personal opinion has a direct or indirect relation in shaping the minds and worldview of the Filipinos. It seems that our local newscasts are also putting too much time on visual and auditory stimulation for shock value or brief entertainment. Suppose the entertainment and shock value are effective but is it enough to make Filipinos think objectively and take educated decisions on the news they see on TV? My friend Benjie said it right that newscasts need to, “report what Filipinos have to hear, not what they want to hear.”

Saturday, June 6, 2009

Charter Change Initiative May Lead to Political and Economic Upheaval

Something to think, discuss, pray and be vigilant regarding the current administration. Anxious or not about Cha cha, voices should be heard about this political concern. As Christians, we should be first to voice out the truth and be a force of virtue to others including the government.

(article below originally posted on Malaya.com.ph)

THE independent think-tank IBON Foundation yesterday warned yhat the widespread outrage over the Charter change initiative may lead to political and economic upheaval.

It said the move of President Arroyo’s Congress allies to railroad the passage of House Resolution 1109 has set the stage for heightened political instability because it confirms Arroyo’s unrelenting effort and desperation to remain in power.

IBON said the tipping point leading to rapidly accelerating outrage and protest will likely be reached when it becomes clear that the 2010 elections and desired removal of Arroyo from the presidency will not be taking place.

IBON’s latest survey shows that majority of Filipinos are not in favor of Cha-Cha and believe that the real motive is for the Arroyo clique to extend its term in power.

It said while the ruling clique apparently prefers the Cha-Cha option, the people should also be prepared for other means that it might execute to remain in power.

The think-tank said it is clear that the present Cha-Cha initiative is no different from the past failed attempts to change the Constitution as it serves the political self-interest of Arroyo and the economic self-interest of foreign capital, and will clearly be rejected by the people.

The think-tank also said the effort to convene a Constituent Assembly creates the conditions for constitutional amendments that will open up and stunt the domestic economy.

It said the deepening economic crisis and ensuing government neglect are significant factors creating conditions for an upheaval.

It said the economy’s long-standing underdevelopment and descent into recession shows how the domestic economy should be actively nurtured and protected.

IBON said the financial crisis in the United States, European Union and Japan is forcing capitalist countries to become even more aggressive in seeking profitable opportunities abroad at the expense of the Third World.

IBON said as it is, the joint foreign chambers of commerce have already made explicit their agenda to seek to increase their profits in the Philippines, which they get from exploiting the country’s natural resources, labor, and markets

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Before He Became "American Idol"

(adapted from The Point blog)

Kris Allen, a college student from Little Rock, Arkansas, was crowned this year's American Idol. Kris the underdog won over rocker and this season's frontrunner Adam Lambert. What was interesting about this year's season was the cultural war that much of the media made out of the American Idol finals. The musical battle between reportedly gay Lambert and evangelical Christian Allen was considered by many a valid debate on issues that are occupying America today.

Now that Kris Allen is getting lots of media attention, I found out recently that he is a worship leader in his church. Here's a YouTube clip of him singing a Chris Tomlin song. Listen to the lyrics of the song. Can you imagine him as the American Idol? How do you think he will do artistically and being a light in the music industry?