The Glory

He died, He rose, He will come again.

THE GLORY
Avalon

In the solitary moment of His birth
On this barren dusty land
All of heaven kissed the face of the earth
With a miracle of love
God became a man

But He was sent away to draw His final breath
When He was only thirty-three
And in the shame of dying a criminal’s death
He cleansed an angry world
And in His suffering I see

The glory of the blood
The beauty of the body
That was broken for our forgiveness
The glory of His perfect love
Is the heart of the story
The glory of the blood

Now I have tried to find salvation on my own
In a search for something real
But there’s a guilty heart inside this flesh and bone
I fall upon His grace
nd I begin to feel

The glory of the blood
The beauty of the body
That was broken for our forgiveness
The glory of His perfect love
Is the heart of the story
The glory of the blood

And when I close my eyes I can see Him hanging there
Oh the precious wounded Lamb of God
All the majesty in this world cannot compare to the glory
The beauty of the body
That was broken for our forgiveness

The glory of the blood
The beauty of the body
That was broken for our forgiveness
The glory of His perfect love
Is the heart of the story
The glory of the blood

But He was sent away to draw His final breath when He was only thirty-three

The ties that should bind Christian and non-Christian bloggers

There’s a hailstorm of discussion circulating around the Philippine blogosphere, centering on a few individuals’ disappointment at the Philippine Blog Awards’ invocation. Specifically, Benj, an atheist, was extremely offended at the mention of Jesus Christ as a motivating factor for Philippine bloggers in maintaining their blogs. He was further offended by the response of “a lot of people” (in particular, this fellow) to his post, and has gotten a good round of discussion from Jorge, Tess, and Gail, who defended the organizers and initially encouraged Benj to join the group next year to ensure non-Christians’ rights would be represented better, but later took back the invitation.

(To Benj’s credit, he did say that the organizers were not to blame; to moot the point, he placed the blame somewhere else, when at this point, finger-pointing would not do the issue any additional good.)

Joni, coincidentally, asked me this morning what I thought of the ongoing flurry of activity. Initially, I thought to myself, this is not an issue I necessarily want to weigh in on, preferring instead to just let the issue die. As a self-professed Fil-Christian blogger for the past seven years, I think I should at least say something about how the situation may have been handled better by the Christians in the group, so as not to further stoke the flames of this ‘controversy,’ which may have marred, in one way or the other, the success of the Philippine Blog Awards.

First off, I want to say that Benj and I have not had the smoothest of relationships, thanks in large part to two things: a less-than-stellar-but-more-than-civil exchange of thoughts on PinoyExchange, where we first ran into each other, and a tendency to read too much into each other’s blog posts, hahaha. I have often said things that may have been offensive to him, and he has done likewise. What I think makes our online relationship work – and translated at least into a decent conversation at the BlogParteeh ’07 when we didn’t kill each other – is a common respect for the other person’s beliefs. After all, it is expected and common that, in our individual web spaces, we call the shots. He has the freedom to delete/edit anything I say on his blog, and I on mine; of course, we don’t, out of what I hope is a respect for the person’s freedom of speech, and to my (not-so-perfect) recollection, I’ve never had to delete any of his posts on any of my Christian blogs. Occasionally, he’ll make a post that will push my buttons, intentionally or unintentionally, and I pray for the strength to just let it go. I’ve often apologized to him in public and private, and he has, too.

There is something to be said for an online relationship between a hardcore atheist and a Bible-thumping Christian, that we can have reciprocal links to each other’s websites, and what I hope is a healthy respect for each other’s rights as people.

The Philippine Blog Awards, however, was no longer just a webspace. It was a gathering of people, not all of whom share the same beliefs – religious, political, whatever. What should have united every person in that theater that night was a healthy respect for each other as individual bloggers, all coming together to recognize that we are all equal – as bloggers, and as people.

Despite my being a Christian, I feel very strongly about recognizing and acknowledging Benj’s point that a more universal prayer or moment of silence would have been more appropriate. There was a point in my life when I was on the other side of that fence, when I was just like Benj. There was a time when I denied the presence of God, and did my part in trying to convince others of my beliefs. I can understand why he feels the way he feels. I may not have expressed myself the way he did, but I can see where he’s coming from.

I definitely disagree with how Benj may have phrased his disgust disappointment with that prayer – especially since some have since interpreted his rather angry post in a negative way. That post was written for response and controversy; there’s no way organizers would have not reacted to it because Benj did throw a lot at them.

When a negative response to something is made, it’s human nature for the owners of that something to react in defense. Shari and and a few other attendees who found that prayer a bit disconcerting may have been left out, but Benj spoke out. Whatever results or changes he may have wanted for next year’s PBA, however, were probably diluted because it was so angrily said.

There are diplomatic ways to express displeasure, but in the heat of the moment… well, Christians and non-Christians can all lose tempers and say things they may end up later wishing they had not said.

Of course, the non-Christians aren’t as driven as we are to forgive. Nor are they as smug as we are because we are in the majority.

Frankly, we Christians in the Philippines do not realize how good we’ve got it, that we can pray in public and not be shot. That we can open our Bibles and read it on the subway. We don’t live in the minority, unlike the earlier Christians, or like Christians in other countries like China or Cuba, and as a result, we’ve become complacent, and almost snooty, just because most Filipinos know of Christ, and a few have active relationships with Him.

The problem with many Christians – and I can include myself in that list on several occasions, unfortunately – is that we tend to become almost elitist and high-and-mighty, knowing we have something in our lives that others do not. We forget it is still their freedom to accept the gift we have ourselves been given and accepted. We become so ritualistic that we forget about the non-believer whose impressions of God and Jesus is based on their interactions with us.

How is a non-believer supposed to know our own Jesus Christ – the person we acknowledge is the Son of God – hobnobbed with the huddled masses, the whores, and sinners? He accepted them for who they are, and (I believe) they changed in time because they kept company with Him. He influenced them in a positive way, and one day, that message of love made a difference in the lives of the people.

How can we reach out to these people when we offend them fresh out of the gate? How can we build relationships with them when we leave them out? And how can we expect them to understand Jesus’ message of compassion when we throw stones instead of bread?

My ending point is this: I personally don’t think a message of tolerance is necessarily a message against Christianity. If we automatically shut out people who do not share our views and faith, we would have lost sight of that which Christ specifically told us to do in Matthew 28.

On my new Prince Albert and nipple and navel piercings

Over the course of the weekend, I decided to do my three tattoos and one earring one better and decided to go for the triple threat of piercings. I decided to have my navel and nipple pierced, as well as… um… well, another part of my body that never expected anything sharp to run through it.

Unbeknownst to my wife and churchmates, I went to Cartimar in Pasay City where I set up an appointment with a licensed piercer. I asked him about healing times (two to three months, up to six for the Prince Albert), and about his record of safety. After he assured me that everything was okay, I decided to go for it.

Being the overweight fellow I am, it was easy to deal with the navel piercing because it pretty much felt like flesh through fat. The nipple piercing stung more significantly, and it bled like hell. About 30 minutes later, after the pain subsided, I went through the most difficult, of all, which was the Prince Albert, and I had to convince myself that this was going to improve my virility and all that to make it completely worth it.

When that ring went through, I tell you I think I saw a bright light at the end of a dark tunnel. As I blog about this right now, my head is still spinning, my legs are spread wide open, my shirt is loose to give both navel and nipple enough space to breathe, and suffice it to say that I have never been more thankful to be a boxers guy.

Click Read More to see gory pictures of nipple and navel. Continue reading “On my new Prince Albert and nipple and navel piercings”

Wifely Steps wins Philippine Blog Award! :D

I’m beside myself with joy! Toni, one of my bestest friends in life and blogdom, won the Philippine Blog Award for Home and Living last Saturday, for her blog Wifely Steps! Yahoo! She so deserves that award. Wifely Steps should be on your list of must-visits every day. Every day, you hear me? Every day.
That’s a pretty good run, eh, Toni? She even posted her thank-you speech. In it, she thanks a lot of people, including the mystery person who nominated her blog.

Well, I’m outing myself. I nominated you, Toni! Hee hee hee! Surprise! :D

It’s the Philippine Blog Awards!

belat.gifTomorrow night, more than 200 Filipino bloggers from across the country are expected to converge at the RCBC Theater for the awarding ceremonies of the Philippine Blog Awards.

I won’t be there, not for lack of desire nor nomination, but simply because my son, Nathan, is still without nanny and I cannot in good conscience choose this wanton blogging bacchanalia over my son’s well-being. It’s not like my eight-month-pregnant wife can handle this three-year-old by herself!

But don’t think I don’t want to be there. I’ve been a Filipino-Christian blogger for almost eight years. My life as a Fil-Christian blogger has outlasted several blog templates (their corpses are still littered throughout the web as a testament to my folly); I’ve had hit counts of as little as 50/day to literally thousands/day. It’s nice to be part of the blogosphere. I would’ve left a long time ago if I thought it didn’t make a difference in my life or that I didn’t make a difference in anyone else’s.

At the end of the day, I don’t think I need recognition (although it’d be nice occasionally to get it). That we all contribute to the blogosphere, that we represent the Philippines as blogging ambassadors to the international blogging community, that we still get hits and comments on our blogs, well, that shows you count. I salute the PBA for doing this, but just as importantly, I salute every Filipino blogger who continues to blog, for whatever reason. You rock my socks.

To the nominees, I tell you: you’re all winners in the sense that people – whether they are judges or people who simply nominated you for Blogger’s Choice – think you are important as a blogger. That your life, recording in your blog, for all to read, can affect someone. That your life and your thoughts and the information you disseminate through your blog, that they all matter. That you are relevant, and you make a daily difference in someone’s life.

That, at the end of the day, is what blogging is all about.

Congratulations, everyone. Hopefully, I can join you again next year.

Update: Here’s the list of winners.

Thirteen reasons why Melinda Doolittle should not win American Idol

 

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For this week’s Thursday Thirteen (Fridays in Manila), I write down 13 reasons why American Idol finalist Melinda Doolittle should not win American Idol. I love Melinda, and every week she comes out and does her thang better than most of the other finalists, but here are some reasons why she shouldn’t (and probably won’t) win.

1. You know the Simons (Fuller and Cowell) are going to piss in their pants if they get another Idol who we know is not going to get airplay on Top 40 radio.

2. The number of people who are starting to get turned off by her act of humility is growing by the week.

3. Her singing skills are impeccable – but her song selections say old old old. Sure, she gives a fresh turn to the songs, but they’re still our parents’ music, not ours.

4. She can carry the uptempo songs vocally, but watching her can be a bit off-putting; the woman can’t dance.

5. If this were Seasons Three, Four, or Five, there’s no way Melinda would’ve won over Fantasia (or Jennifer Hudson, hehe), Carrie Underwood, or Taylor Hicks. Well, maybe she’d beat Taylor Hicks, but I can’t see Melinda outselling Daughtry or Elliott Yamin.

6. She is the perfect shock elimination for 4th place this year. Isn’t that usually the case? Tamyra Gray? Latoya London? Chris Daughtry? ;) Okay, so Anthony Federov and Josh Gracin, notsomuch.

7. As the weeks go by, she starts to get predictable. We know what happens to talented but predictable performers, don’t we, Latoya, Tamyra, and Vonzell?

8. She has no neck. Joke!

9. If you think packaging a gray-haired 30-year-old Southern rocker named Taylor Hicks was difficult, imagine packaging a 28-year-old back-up vocalist with no real sense of style.

10. Every Idol has rabid fans, but if Melinda’s fan demographic is anything like Hicks’ Soul Patrol, then Melinda’s chart-topping future ain’t burnin’ so bright.

11. I just can’t see Melinda filling stadiums throughout the nation like Carrie or Kelly Clarkson.

12. Is it me, or is she starting to look more smug with every passing week? Did you catch the look she gave Ryan when he asked whether she was getting tired of all that praise?
And the 13th reason why Melinda shouldn’t win…

13. Melinda deserves so much better than to become another Taylor Hicks.

Get the Thursday Thirteen code here!
The purpose of the meme is to get to know everyone who participates a little bit better every Thursday. Visiting fellow Thirteeners is encouraged! If you participate, leave the link to your Thirteen in others comments. It’s easy, and fun! Be sure to update your Thirteen with links that are left for you, as well! I will link to everyone who participates and leaves a link to their 13 things. Trackbacks, pings, comment links accepted!

Yamin debuts at #3 on Billboard 200!

Elliott Yamin debuts at #3 on the Billboard 200!

Our boy did it!

American Idol 2006 third-place finisher Elliott Yamin’s self-titled independent debut sold 90,000 copies to debut at No. 3 this week on the Billboard 200. Yamin’s Hickory Records release makes him the fifth finalist from last year’s show to reach The Billboard 200, joining winner Taylor Hicks, runner-up Katharine McPhee, sixth placer Kellie Pickler and fourth-placer Chris Daughtry, whose self-titled RCA album holds tight at #4 for a second week.

Congratulations, Elliott! Hope your album has legs!

Meanwhile, this goes out to all of us Elliott fans who believed!

[audio:Believe.mp3]

We can’t always be white sheep

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Last night, Nathan said something to his Mom that took both of us by surprise. We have no idea where he learned it, but you can bet both of us were taken aback. A lot of prayer was offered that night for our three-year-old.

How often have we said something that we knew wouldn’t be received well, or done something that we just needed to do, even if we knew it wouldn’t necessarily be good for us? Me, quite often. My life is littered with dumb decisions.

If we’re lucky, the persons we told about our stupid actions, the persons who knew better will rarely tell us “I told you so.” Still, Someone very important has never told us, “I told you so.” Instead, He forgives us for walking away from Him, and welcomes us back into His arms. We just need to pray and tell Him about it.
Now some people believe prayer is just you talking to yourself. Believe that if you will. I believe Someone listens to me when I pray. That Someone – my God, the God of Abraham, and my Dad and Jesus’ Dad – understands that more often than not, I will screw up, and acknowledges when I am contrite and truly sorry for having done something I know won’t please Him. Like I should be to Nathan, God is an understanding Father, and will never take your decision to do something – even if it is obviously against His will – against you if you return to Him and genuinely say sorry for having done it.

After all, we can’t be all expected to be white sheep. We weren’t created like sheep. We’ve got minds of our own and a free will that, more often than not, comes back to bite us in the butt. What else can we do but run to Him before we get into bigger trouble?