Hell, no!

This month is Halloween month. So at Grace Place, we thought of having a series for that. It’s called, “So you’re dead… now what”. It talks about anything about the after life. It’s a very uncomfortable topic, but heck we know we’re all going to die. It’s better to know what’s next than not at all!

This week, we’re talking about Hell. As my wife said, it’s a good topic, no body wants to talk about it, so let’s bring it on. While preparing for my grace group tonight, these thoughts run through my mind.

– We’re all going to die. Oh, yeah, we are. Whatever life altering procedure you do, we’re all going to die.

– There are 2 major views of death. I came from a tradition that says when you die, you sleep (a.k.a the doctrine of “soul sleep”). I changed camp. Most evangelicals believe that when you die, you continue to exist and will either directly go to heaven or hell (a.k.a. the doctrine of “Immortality of the Soul”). I will have a few Adventists on my grace groups, and if this question will be raised, I’m just going to say, “You continue to believe what you know is true, I believe mine, and it’s alright. Because whether the soul sleeps or is awake when you die is not the real issue. The real issue is, what are you doing now that you’re alive so that you’ll know exactly where you’re going in the after life?

– Heaven is real.

– Hell is real. But we don’t want to talk about it. Because we want to live as if it doesn’t exist.

– You won’t see your buddies in hell. You won’t drink beers with them, won’t laugh with them, won’t party with them. In hell, you’re going to be all alone. All by yourself. Nobody to talk to. In utter darkness.

– God doesn’t want us to go to hell. In the first place, hell is created for Satan. But because of our sinfulness and God’s holiness, we’re going there. And if we do, that doesn’t mean God didn’t do anything to save you. He did EVERYTHING you can imagine when he sent Jesus on earth and die a criminal’s death. You just don’t want to do anything with Jesus today. You simply want to do what you want to do with your life. And God will let you. Go. To. Hell.

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Iglesia ni Cristo Day? What the…!

Before I piss off some really good friends of mine, let me first say that while I’m not an Iglesia ni Cristo, I respect them as a religious sect. I have several friends who are members of this organization. The point of this blog is not about them, it’s about how this government is treating our intelligence.

The Inquirer reported today that the government is declaring July 27 as Iglesia Ni Cristo day in commemoration of their founding anniversary.

An anniversary celebration for a big religious group, yes. But a national holiday? Shouldn’t it follow, then that Bro. Mike’s El Shaddai receive the same holiday treatment on their own anniversary — especially that according to their claims, their membership is far more than that of INC? Or Bro. Eddie’s Jesus is Lord? Oh, by the way, Victory Christian Fellowship, one of those huge Christian groups that contributes to the spiritual and moral development of the country is having their 25th founding anniversary in 2 weeks time. I’m not a member, but I love these guys. I know some of their pastors and they are one of the most sincere and passionate leaders I’ve ever known.

Can we also ask for a Grace Place day on September 3?

Let me get straight to the point. You advisers in Malacanang are doing this for one reason: votes for 2010 election! The INC are known for block voting. You’re insulting our intelligence.

Hayyy!. Sana 2010 na.

Update: It gets even worse: It was actually a law signed by congress. Magalit na ang magagalit sa akin, but don’t we have better laws to pass these days?

Miss California and gay marriages

I kind of created an unwanted tension between my friends on Facebook when I posted a link to a blog post by former Miss Philippines Universe Joyce Burton-Titular¬†about Ms. California being the most famous first runner up. If you’ve been around the blogsphere, you know about the buzz. During the Miss USA pageant, Miss California was asked by showbiz blogger Perez Hilton about what she thinks on same sex marriages. She answered with conviction, she doesn’t support it. It became very controversial, it even came to a point where she was about to be stripped off her Mis CA crown.

On one side, some friends of mine (really close ones) said Miss California, by rejecting same sex marriage, claims to be a Christian but is inaccurately representing it by her actions. On another side, a friend of mine said we should stop criticizing her for the other things that she’s doing and instead praise her for taking a stand. I hope to defuse the tension a bit by giving my own (hopefully diplomatic) stand.

First of all, in my opinion, Ms. CA did a great job at answering the pageant question. I’m not saying whether I agree or disagree with her answer. All I’m saying is she did a great job. She was asked with a controversial question, what else can you expect but a controversial answer. What she did is simply to answer the question with conviction — exactly what a pageant like this requires. If she answered differently with the same conviction, she will still get an A from me.¬†

Secondly, in my understanding, as far as civil rights are concerned, this is not an issue whether same sex marriages are moral or not. The issue is the definition of marriage — is marriage between a man or a woman, or is it time to redefine its meaning? You only have two choices and Miss CA took the former definition.

And lastly, while I think Miss CA did a great job in standing for her Christian conviction, it is true that some reports did say that she was inconsistent with it. But, on the other hand, isn’t that an issue for all of us? I mean, who can say that we’re always consistent with our own beliefs? Isn’t that the goal of a growing Christian — little by little to become like Jesus and be consistent with our beliefs? In the meantime, we’re all going to mess up. But thank God for his grace.

I do have my own opinion on gay marriages. But since I do not live in the US nor this is going to be an issue here in the Philippines, at least for now, I’m just going to hold my piece. In any case, US President Obama — largely liberal president whom I suppose supports gay marriages, and Rick Warren, an evangelical pastor that rejects it, are friends. Warren prayed for Obama on the inaugural. I think it’s the best way to say that we can all live together in harmony even if we have different convictions.

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