May 27, 2006

Why dont bad guys get punished NOW?!?!

The Lord is not slow to fulfill His promise as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.
2 Peter 3:9

taking a stand: through waters, through fire

“Fear not, for I have redeemed you;
I have called you by name,
you are Mine.

When you pass through the waters, I will be with you;
and through the rivers, they shall not overwhelm you;
when you walk through fire you shall not be burned,
and the flame shall not consume you.

…Because you are precious in My eyes,
and honored, and I love you,

…Fear not, for I am with you…”

--- Isaiah 43:1,2,4,5

the BEST reminder when you're down...

What then shall we say to these things?
If God is for us, who can be against us?
He who did not spare His own Son but gave Him up for us all, how will He not also with Him graciously give us all things?

Romans 8:31-32


Remember not the former things,
nor consider the things of old.
Behold, I am doing a new thing;
now it springs forth, do you not perceive it?

Isaiah 43:18,19

Behold, I make all things new.
Revelation 21:5

…I will cleanse you. And I will give you a new heart, and a new spirit I will put within you. And I will remove the heart of stone from your flesh and give you a heart of flesh. And I will put My Spirit within you, and cause you to walk in My statutes and be careful to obey My rules. You shall dwell in the land that I gave to your fathers, and you shall be My people, and I will be your God. And I will deliver you from all your uncleannesses.
Ezekiel 36:25,26-29

[The LORD] set my feet upon a rock,
making my steps secure.
He put a new song in my mouth,
a song of praise to our God.
Psalm 40:2,3

For behold, I create new heavens
and a new earth,
and the former things shall not be remembered
or come into mind.
But be glad and rejoice forever
in that which I create…
Isaiah 65:17,18

Therefore if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation.
The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.
All this is from God…
2 Corinthians 5:17,18

For neither circumcision counts for anything, nor uncircumcision, but a new creation.
Galatians 6:15

…To put off your old self, which belongs to your former manner of life and is corrupt through deceitful desires, and to be renewed in the spirit of your minds, and to put on the new self, created after the likeness of God in true righteousness and holiness.
Ephesians 4:22-24

Put to death therefore what is earthly in you: sexual immorality, impurity, passion, evil desire, and covetousness, which is idolatry. On account of these the wrath of God is coming. In these you too once walked, when you were living in them. But now you must put them all away: anger, wrath, malice, slander, and obscene talk from your mouth. Do not lie to one another, seeing that you have put off the old self with its practices and have put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge after the image of its Creator. Here there is not Greek and Jew, circumcised and uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave, free; but Christ is all, and in all.
Colossians 3:5-11

For if the sprinkling of defiled persons with the blood of goats and bulls and with the ashes of a heifer sanctifies for the purification of the flesh, how much more will the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered Himself without blemish to God, purify our conscience from dead works to serve the living God. Therefore He is the mediator of a new covenant, so that those who are called may receive the promised eternal inheritance, since a death has occurred that redeems them from the transgressions committed under the first covenant.
Hebrews 9:13-15

Since all these things are to be dissolved, what sort of people ought you to be in lives of holiness and godliness, waiting for and hastening the coming of the day of God, because of which the heavens will be set on fire and dissolved, and the heavenly bodies will melt as they burn! But according to His promise we are waiting for new heavens and a new earth in which righteousness dwells.
2 Peter 3:11-13

And they were all amazed, so that they asked among themselves, saying, “What is this? A new teaching with authority! He commands even the unclean spirits, and they obey Him.”
Mark 1:27

A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another. By this all people will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another.
John 13:34-35

i didn't keep it secret

I have told the glad news of deliverance in the great congregation,
Behold, I have not restrained my lips, as You know, O LORD.
I have not hidden Your deliverance within my heart;
I have spoken of Your faithfulness and Your salvation;
I have not concealed Your steadfast love and Your faithfulness from the great congregation.
Psalm 40:9-10

do all roads lead to heaven?

do all roads lead to heaven?

Religious tolerance. This cause has often been invoked: the freedom to believe what you want to believe and the graciousness to extend that freedom to others.

But…there is a big difference between respecting each other’s views and holding on to what you have experienced to be true. i must always respect the person, but there will be times i must respectfully disagree.

In matters of opinion, everyone’s right. But in matters of faith or lack of faith, in God, gods, or no god at all, not everyone can be right at the same time. Or rather, everyone can have faith, but that doesn’t automatically mean that everyone is right.

Religious tolerance entails that everyone is free to worship (or not) as they see fit. Yes, there is free will. But that freedom does not make some people less wrong. And even if your heart is in the right place and your intentions sincerely good, you can still be sincerely wrong.

Do I sound too harsh? Too hopeless? I’d just like to make a wake-up call. Lying around, not caring one way or the other, and/or letting others be, is not the way to go. If you don’t know the Answer, seek It; if you know the Answer, speak It.

No, not all faiths and religions lead to the one true God. but in a sense, i think, all roads do lead to heaven --- in that no matter where you are or what situation you are in, no matter who you’ve been or what you’ve done two minutes ago, there’s still a path that leads to Him. There is no one specific story or outline or formula of how people came to know Christ --- in biblical times, and now. Both saints and sinners have needed and found His immeasurable love, both the religious and the skeptical have been transformed by His grace. And actually, this entire entry has been inspired by my recalling the seemingly trivial, inconsequential (ha! or so I thought) questions that led others to share about God to me, and that led me to share about God to others. Truly, He is just waiting to be gracious to us (Isaiah 30:18) --- He is just waiting, because of --- that’s right --- free will, because of “religious tolerance”.

There’s only one true, living God, and only one way, Jesus --- but in a sense, all roads do lead to heaven because He is just waiting with open arms regardless of what we’ve done. More important than asking “which path leads to heaven”, perhaps we must be asking ourselves when we will finally take that step and let Him lead us there. :)

For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord. (Romans 8:38)

Advice not just for AI contestants =)

From Philippine Daily Inquirer, May 26, 2006 (right after American Idol finals):

Asked backstage if he had any advice for contestants, Meat Loaf replied: “If you want to do this, you’re gonna go up and down, and up and down, and people are going to love you and hate you…Just stick with it.

wanna make Him happy? =)

His delight is not in the strength of the horse,
Nor His pleasure in the legs of a man,
But the LORD takes pleasure in those who fear Him,
In those who hope in His steadfast love. :)

Psalm 147:10-11

May 25, 2006

teci's thesis: defense a success!

thank You GOD :)

that's all i can say :)

i love working for You :) :) :)

May 21, 2006

on eagle's wings

this is taken from the home page of :)

The Eagle's Use of Storms.....

An eagle knows when the storm is approaching long before it breaks. It will fly to some high spot and wait for the winds to come. When the storm hits, it sets its wings so that the wind will pick it up and lift it above the storm. While the storm rages below, it is soaring above it......

The eagle does not escape the storm; it simply uses the storm to lift it higher. It rides on the winds that bring the storm......

"But those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength.
They will soar on wings like eagles;
they will run and not grow weary;
they will walk and not be faint."
(Isaiah 40:31)

total surrender :)

i got the following message from Minister Debra Norman, from the ministersandevangelists yahoo group :) (used with permission) so powerful! so full of praise for God :) i'd like to preach as she does :) :)

Glory to God, for yet another day that we awoke. Thank you Father for without you, we are nothing!

Today I want to speak to you, about total surrender. Do we really know what it is that we are declaring when we say that "We totally surrender to God's way and Gods WILL"?

I first want to give you the definitions of total, and surrender, amen.

Definition of total is this: constituting the full quantity or extent; complete

Definition of surrender is this:give up or agree to forgo to the power or possession of another

My God my God! I pray that every heart will take heed to your word, and I pray that you give me the words, as how YOU would want this message to forth, In the name of Jesus, amen.

If we say that we totally surrender to God, this is what we are saying with the definitions.

Father, I declare that I am COMPLETE in you to every extent, and that, Father I give up what I may want, and my will, to the power and possession of you Father, In the name of JESUS!!

Is that not what we are saying according to the definitions? I want to share with you some scriptures amen, that show us total surrender!

Romans 6:16 says this: Do you not know that if you continually surrender yourselves to anyone to do his will, you are the slaves of him whom you obey, whether that be to sin, which leads to death, or to obedience which leads to righteousness (right doing and right standing with God)? (AMP)

Really does anymore need be said? Well lets look at another scripture.

(Luke 14:33) So then, any of you who does not forsake (renounce, surrender claim to, give up, [a]say good-bye to) all that he has cannot be My disciple.(AMP)

Oh my my my, My God I choose this day to totally surrender to YOU Father! I am not concerned with what (me) may want or NOT want, I am concerned about you Father. I totally surrender to you this day, and the (I) is put under submission, Let your will be done in my life, Father no matter where you lead me, I will follow. I say goodbye this day, to the things that are not of you! I may be persecuted, but Father as I am totally surrendered to you, I rejoice that I may be persecuted for your NAMES sake, halleluah!!!!!!!!!!!!

Father I know that to be a leader, I MUST first be a good servant, and know that even as a leader, I MUST still remain a good servant, I pray that I will always be at your service my Abba, even if at times it hurts, or If I must stand alone here on earth, I KNOW that you my Master, You have me in your hands, and If I be in your hands, I will not fear, Glory!!!!!!! Beacuse Halleluah, if you are my Master, and I am your servant, who can tear down? I choose this day, to make sure that I have on the full armour, that I can withstand in this perilous day! I love you Father, and I surrender myself totally to you!!!!!!!!! In Jesus Name, Amen and Amen.

As always Father, you will find me "Kneeling at your feet, and standing on Your word." Halleluah, Halleluah...........Minister Debra Rodman

May 20, 2006

i'm a *gasp* romantic writer!!!! (like CS LEWIS!!!!)

i knew it. i really knew it.

but please, quirky over traditional love stories, please! bring on the scifi/horror and the mutant powers :D and strong female characters, thank you very much :) (ah, the balance between female self-sufficiency and submission...)

aaaaaaand, i really wouldn't mind looking like this novelist too (in the picture below, not really talking about dear Prof. Lewis, hehe). will exercise after thesis, promise!!!! :p

You Should Be a Romance Novelist

You see the world as it should be, and this goes double for all matters of the heart.
You can find the romance in any situation, and you would make a talented romance story writer...
And while you may be a traditional romantic, you're just as likely to be drawn to quirky or dark love stories.
As long as it deals with infatuation, heartbreak, and soulmates - you could write it.
What Type of Writer Should You Be?

postscript (may21): i was a little 'disturbed' that this is the only blog entry with no relation to God at all (i think). good thing i came across this article about friends C.S. Lewis and J.R.R. Tolkien. (fyi, C.S. Lewis wrote The Chronicles of Narnia while J.R.R. Tolkien wrote The Lord of the Rings...among their many other books :) ) The article includes the following lines:

"Tolkien soon showed Lewis his beautiful poetic translation of Beowulf and shared drafts detailing his until-now private world of Middle-earth. For years he had been weaving a tapestry of saga, myth, and story, often rendered both in poetic and prose versions.
"Lewis's response was more than Tolkien could have hoped. The young atheist was enraptured. He had always been captivated by ancient myths and stories of "romance"—that is, tales that contained glimpses of other worlds. But here was one by a modern-day author, as elaborate and compelling as any he had read.
"Soon Tolkien began trying to convince his friend of the truth of Christian faith."

yay, romance in a much wider sense! and, *double gasp* i do want to be the next C.S. Lewis, yahoo! thank You God :) in this blog entry and in the rest of my writings, i want to glorify You only, and draw people to You only :) amen!!!!

reply to seven star hand: on symbology

background: right after i posted an entry regarding the Da Vinci Code, i received a comment. both the original entry and the comment can originally be read here. what follows below is my (equally) lengthy reply.

(postscript may23: i cannot keep his words posted on this site in their original form. sorry. what about free speech and free choice, in presenting both sides? to be honest i'm not sure yet. but in the meantime i'm not going to keep his original complete statements and homepage link here because we're advocating two entirely opposing issues. i've included snippets of his statements in my replies, but that's about it, for now at least.)

hi, i read your comments and i browsed through your website.

first things first, i'm an evangelical Bible-believing Christian. it's a more accurate term than "Protestant", though i am a 'protester' as well. i was raised a Catholic in a strongly Catholic society, but obviously i'm not Catholic anymore. i do not agree with many central beliefs in the Roman Catholic faith, because of their inconsistencies with the Bible. i'm just saying this up front to let you know that i'm not entirely in agreement with what the Vatican has done in centuries past.


i do believe in the Bible as *literal* truth.

you said this:
"If the Bible represented the literal truth or even accurate history, there would be no need for faith in the assertions of deceptive and duplicitous clergy and their ilk."

we have to be clearer about what we're saying. to be fair to the Vatican, many doctrines are formulated for a deeper understanding of God and life. a student's guide, or Cliff's Notes. again there have been times when the dogmas were a little off, even completely un-Biblical, which was why the Protestant Reformation advocated a return to the basics -- belief in the Bible and the Bible only.

sadly, the name of God has been used (even until today) to justify completely ungodly actions like murder, rape, war. but to be fair this is true of many religions, not just Roman Catholic, not just Protestant. the problem is many people see the imperfections of the messenger and hold the Message (God's love) and the Sender (God Himself) guilty. is their deception? is there duplicity? yes, but it is not true for all.

you continued:
"Wisdom and faith are opposing concepts, because wisdom requires the unequivocal truth where faith obfuscates and opposes it. Religion is therefore the enemy of truth and wisdom."

and again:
"What then is the purpose of "faith" but to keep good people from seeking to understand truth and wisdom?"

i used to think that way too. yes, wisdom requires the truth, but when there are missing gaps then faith steps in. i once thought faith is stupid, blind, dumb. but if you are encountered by something real, whether it be God, another person, even the weather, you will know that it is real. "how will God speak to me today?" is not so much an ignorant question as "will my boss give me a raise?" or "will the storm hit our area?"

not only will head-on encounters make you realize that something is true. more importantly, you will, in one way or another, believe something about that real person/object/Being. "knowing God and how He has helped me through my past problems, He will help me through this one." is not so much a stupid statement as "knowing my boss, he will (not?) give me that raise." or "it seems that the storm is coming."

i learn some things, and base new conclusions (or reformulate old ones) based on what i have learned. Faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see (Hebrews 11:1). it doesn't mean i'll follow everything everyone else is saying or doing --- i'll only go crazy because they don't all say and do the same things. but if i put my trust in something -- in Someone -- who in the past i have seen has shown Himself reliable, then my faith is well-placed.

religion does not have to be the enemy of truth and wisdom. the Bible is *revealed* Truth --- since we cannot grasp nor imagine God by ourselves, He reveals Himself to us. there are times we do not know *all* the answers (yet), but He will give us all the wisdom, the strength, and everything else that we need. i just mentioned in a previous blog entry that Ralph Waldo Emerson said: "All that I have seen teaches me to trust the Creator for all that I have not seen." faith and truth/wisdom need not oppose each other: they can complement each other.

again, religion does not have to be the enemy of truth and wisdom. it just seems that way in many cultures because people just go through the motions of rituals and ceremonies without actually getting to know God. and religion focuses more on human effort -- you will go to heaven if you do this, if you don't do that.

but, Christianity is not a religion. it is the only faith that involves a Savior entirely different from myself. God is just, and my sins must be punished. i cannot save myself, i really need Him and His sinless body to be sacrificed as a substitute for my own. if i place my faith in HIM and in Him only, will i be able to stand holy and whole before God.

you wrote:
"All ancient religious, mystical, and wisdom texts have been shrouded in mystery for millennia for one primary reason: The ability to understand their widely evidenced symbology was lost in antiquity. How do we finally solve these ages-old mysteries? To recast an often-used political adage: It’s [the] symbology, stupid!...Every miracle purported for Jesus has multiple direct symbolic parallels in the Old Testament, Apocalypse, Dead Sea Scrolls, and other symbolic narratives and traditions. This is the secret held by the ancient Gnostics, Templars, and Cathars, which is presented with dramatic effect in the DaVinci Code. None of these narratives or stories were ever intended as the literal truth. That is a key fact to unraveling ages-old mysteries."

here are my questions:

1. if the ability to understand symbology was lost, then how come we should look at the symbology to understand how to look at the symbology? and, with all due respect, how can i trust what you say over someone else?

2. there is a problem with secret societies, codes, mysteries. (before anything else, i'd just like to say that i love mysteries.) when someone says they have an important, earth-shaking truth, but don't say what that truth is, then...what? is it only for the worthy? then what will the worthy do? continue protecting the secret, until when? the right time?
you said in your website that people must believe before it's too late. then why hide behind secrets and mysteries, behind code names and possibilities? if time is running out, shouldn't important secrets be unraveled immediately?
again, how will all these secrets affect the rest of us? if only a special few know the answers to a secret, then hide it behind even deeper will the rest benefit? is it not a bit unfair that the rest of the world is not good enough to learn the truth before important events like the end of the world or the second coming occur?

3. Jesus commands His followers to tell everyone of the Good News about God:
at the end of Matthew, at the end of Mark, at the start of Acts (three Bible books). why are gnostic Gospels so different, that there are special revelations given only to select people -- and stop there? is this the same Jesus? is this the same God who talks in different tones and situations, through both prophets and ordinary people, throughout the Bible?

4. if the Bible was not intended as literal truth, then what is?

finally, you ended with this:
"Seek to understand the symbolic significance of my name (Seven Star Hand) and you will have proof beyond disproof that Jews, Christians, and Muslims have long been duped by the great deceivers I warned humanity about over the millennia."

i don't want to be duped. but, what is your proof that you are genuine and that Jewish, Christian, and Muslim leaders are deceivers? again with all due respect, why should i believe you over them?

you say that religion obfuscates the unequivocal truth, the exact opposite of wisdom. and yet, you also say that the Bible and other religious writings are not intended to be taken literally. shouldn't proponents of the unequivocal truth tell the whole truth and nothing but? why hide behind all these secret symbology? do not these symbols obfuscate truth much more?

i don't mean to attack or offend, but only to discuss. thank you for taking the time to read and to comment, and i hope you're able to reply to this as well.

more subtitles

Your testimonies are wonderful; therefore my soul keeps them. The unfolding of your words gives light. (Psalm 119:129,130)

For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord. (Romans 8:38)

For EVERYONE who calls on the name of the LORD will be SAVED. (Romans 10:13; Acts 2:21; Joel 2:32)

that's why it's called "welcome"

many times, i've been disappointed, expecting to hear "thank you"'s from people who ask for something, usually popping out of nowhere only when they need something, then vanishing into nothingness as quickly as they came (as soon as they got that piece of information, or advice, or unburdened themselves, et cetera).

it's not really a requirement for them to thank me actually. i suppose it's a matter of habit, because i always thank people who help *me* out. ok, so maybe not *always*...

but isn't thanking others the least you could do for the help they've given you? it's just one word, one syllable even. but it shows that you're acknowledging someone's help, that they've managed to make your life a little better (or at least had that intention in mind), and that you're, well, thankful.

but then that still small voice asks: What if that ungrateful person asks for help again? and again? or what if someone else asks for help but you just know that he/she won't thank you later?

why, of course i'll still would be so shallow and immature of me not to, on the basis of the absence of that one-syllable token of gratitude. do i not want to help, whether or not they can repay me? even if they can't repay materially, or even verbally, even if they don't remember to thank me, i'll still do it.

i'm reminded that that's the reason we call it "you're welcome". :)

when there's no "thank you", all the more reason to say "you're welcome". :) sincerely, not spitefully nor sarcastically. you're welcome to my time, my effort, my money even. (just stay away from my food and comics! joke! but really, stay away! joke!)

and, before i forget, thank YOU God, for everything. i don't want to be like the Israelites at the time of the Judges! let's not make the same mistakes. thank You, God, and welcome, everyone else! :D

teci's thesis, episode 15: thank You GOD :)

there really is still much to do, and less time to do it in, but shown below is a miracle in progress. thank You, God, for giving me Your strength, and encouraging me with friends and family (and puppy). really, really, thank You :)

(and to those who are reading, yeah, that really is gossip and rumor making up my thesis :D again, thank You God for making ALL things interesting!!!)

Summer 2006
Audiovisual Room
Old NIP Building, 3rd Pavilion, Palma Hall

25 May 2006 (Thursday)
Maria Teresa R. Pulido
Rumor Propagation within Static and Dynamic Networks
Examination Panel: Dr. M (adviser), Dr. C (co-adviser),
Dr. C (Reader), Dr R (Examiner), Dr J

Listen first, then decide

like the characters, we’re led across an exciting adventure, and we “learn” things along the way. now what? there were times i was really internally groaning and externally being a noisy annoying moviegoer (sorry folks!) because the things they “learn” aren’t really true...but i hope like the characters, we stick through it all till the end. i'm not saying to obey or follow blindly, on the contrary, to make a decision when all evidence is in. not just to hold on to a juicy piece of “information” and wave off everything else. if something is said against the Bible, what do Bible scholars say? just wait, like watching an entire movie or reading a whole book from start to end. be fair and hear everyone out.
and then, only then, can we say, “Now what?” (or, in Jacques Sauniere’s words, “What’s the next step?”)

that’s beside the point, 1: exactly.

i don’t want to give away any plot points or anything regarding the movie “The Da Vinci Code”, but i’m glad that it was emphasized that proving Jesus was a man does not make Him any less divine. amen to that.
(what controversy? :p )

that's beside the point, 2: wagging your finger won't help

(i'll be writing this to the newspaper editor. even if it won't get published, at least i could give the writer my feedback. oh, wait, it is published in this blog anyway :p )

Yesterday, a front-page movie review of 'The Da Vinci Code' written by --- concludes with this:

"Will 'The Da Vinci Code' cause some Christians to question some of their beliefs? Definitely. Will they abandon their faith because of this movie? If they do, then they couldn't have been very good Catholics to begin with."

To be born into any belief system is one thing, but to actively live, or leave, the tenets of a particular faith is quite different.
Blind obedience and acceptance cannot really be credited as faith, because billions of people belong to different religions which cannot all be true at the same time. Even if one is born into a particular religion, that person still has to seek and find the answers for himself. I just find the above comment a little unfair, because "a very good Catholic" convert from, say, Islam would in turn be a "very bad Moslem" for leaving his original faith.

Sir, wagging your finger won't help. Whether we like it or not, there are many people who don't have firm foundations of faith. Simply branding them as "not very good Catholics", or Christians, or believers of any kind, would not help them sort out the truth from everything else. What the good believers could do is continue to spread the word of God's love, in words and in action. To counteract allegations with the truth of His presence as well as the historical, archaeological, and other scientific evidence backing up the Bible and God who is at its center.

Simply warning those who might fall away from the faith, or labelling them as weak believers, is beside the point really. maybe they are. but if we really know the truth, then we could make their faith in God much more stronger.

P.S. Overall I appreciated your article and agree with your insights regarding the movie (I watched it yesterday as well). Thank you for your time. :)

DaVinciCode: I'm actually HAPPY I watched it!

i watched that movie yesterday: yup, the Da Vinci Code. i watched it for the same reason i read the book: to attack, to discredit, to debunk. they said it attacks, discredits, debunks Christianity. i had to read for myself. (plus my dear younger brother was getting curious. protect!)
so up front, but now on hindsight, i must apologize. i gave it its day in court, but i was like the prosecuting attorney, or maybe the defense, in an all-too-controversial trial. in any case, i was too guarded to the point of being hostile.
while reading the book i was like, “HU-WHAT?!?!” so many times. (pls. see the previous blog entry for details.) and i was wary because i remember a washing of hands at the end. after all the allegations, the current Vatican and the Pope were cleared, they possibly couldn’t have known of it nor had any part in it, et cetera. (yes now would be a good time to remind me it’s fiction, but let me continue.) after all the shady deals and the implied conspiracies (and the explicit ones?) we now have an oh-no-they-couldn’t-possibly-have-any-part-in-it. it’s like digging up dirt --- literally --- and then saying this dirt does not apply to the current situation nor season. not fair. really getting away with it.
so here comes the movie. groan. even though i resent giving my ‘financial support’ to both the book and the movie, i had to know what i was up against. (see, that word again. too hostile at the start.)
another apology is in order (aren’t i so guilty today): sorry to all my fellow moviegoers if i ruined your moviegoing experience. there were two, three, four times i was saying loudly, “Not true!” plus one time with a longer explanation. good thing my two friends knew i was probably going to do that before we even went to the mall. problem is, the other moviegoers didn’t. i was torn between carrying a protest placard and blocking the entire screen, and letting them travel their own journey of faith alone. (but having a blog shows that i have much to say, and i’m not going to watch someone being fooled in front of me and not do anything about it.)
so how come even before the movie’s end i was telling my friend that i’m happy i watched it?
so i’ve been an annoying moviegoer. but there were two, three times i was literally going to open my mouth and then…Robert Langdon speaks. Sophie Neveu speaks. balance is restored.
i don’t mean the “balance between good and evil”. (have you ever thought how absurd it is to want to have a balance like that? why would you want 50% evil in your life?) i mean the balance between prosecution and defense, between allegation and possibility, between attack and acceptance.
i get the intentions of those who want the movie banned. maybe i wanted the movie banned myself. (though now i'm glad it’s not! :) ) i’m just worried, you see. i’m worried for the others who would have their faith shaken to the point that they won’t listen to anything the Bible or the Church says. it’s been said that what we suspect in others are actually what we ourselves are guilty of. i'm not suspecting anyone of anything but i'm saying it’s possible for them, exactly because i was guilty of it a long time ago. i watched “Stigmata”, which interestingly wasn’t even given a second glance by the censors and critics, and whatever remained of my faith in God and the Church dissolved. back then anyway (only five years ago).
i remember just asking God to reveal Himself, to separate the truth from the lies…and i remember that my own walk of faith was once just defined to be going around in circles, if not just lying around sleeping. and yes, since i do know about God and that that is true, then i could rest knowing that they will come upon those same truths too, in God’s own timing. (even while realizing this early on in the movie, i still had anxieties. i wanted everyone to come upon the truth and not fall away because of the movie. worry worry. hence my being a noisy annoying moviegoer.)
balance. fairness. in the movie and in the book, balance and fairness was advocated between the genders. but i appreciate seeing a more significant balance, that between truth and speculation. i was just listening to a radio talk show and the last comment regarding the movie was that it was a blessing in disguise. true, it’s not often that Hollywood gives Jesus the center stage. and people are now talking about God once again. in two separate days i got to share with three people why the Bible is true, including with our Institute Director :)
i could worry endlessly, or i could do my part and share what i know is true. and claiming to know God, do i still have cause to worry? this was mentioned as that same radio show ended: “And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to His purpose (Romans 8:28).”
what about those who don’t love God or don’t know if they’ve been called? just a few sentences later, “For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.” (Romans 8:38-39)
moviegoer, reader, both or neither, i hope people will realize that like Robert Langdon, we are all just going about our own self-absorbed lives until we get caught up in a search for the truth. each one of us has to figure out the answers because it really is a matter of life and death. seek! my worrying self wants to just wave my arms wildly to catch everyone else’s attention.
i think it’s about time i remind myself of this: :)
“For thus says the Lord GOD: ‘Behold, I, I myself will search for my sheep and will seek them out. As a shepherd seeks out [his sheep] that have been scattered, so will I seek out My sheep, and I will rescue them from all places where they have been scattered on a day of clouds and thick darkness (Ezekiel 34:11-12).’”
so let Your light shine, God. and open up our eyes :)

things that are NOT true in DVC (as opposed to being fictional)

the following are taken from the Bible, and other resources from which historians, scholars, archaeologists, and other experts gave their input.
1. Mary Magdalene is not at all discredited by the Catholic Church nor the Bible. she’s not a prostitute in the Bible but simply the woman from whom seven demons were released. i don’t know where the popular painting of her as a prostitute started. an elder/teacher told me Magdala was a red-light (prostitute) district. in ‘Jesus Christ, Superstar’ doesn’t she sing “I don’t know how to love Him” (i love that song!)? and in ‘Passion of the Christ’ she’s depicted as the sinful woman who almost got stoned. (the Bible does not name this latter woman, in fairness it may have been MM but it may also have been someone else entirely.) implications: why is Leigh Teabing (and other like-minded critics) attacking an action (discrediting Mary Magdalene) that hasn’t been done?
2. along with the rest of the New Testament, the four Gospels (Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John), and only these four, were written during the lifetime of Christ’s followers. thousands of manuscripts (original Bible texts) are now in existence (as compared to a handful for the Greek epics and other documents we call historical) that are dated to within decades of Christ’s life. implications: the Gospels stand true beyond scrutiny. any supporter of Christ can agree with those Gospels, any opponent of Christ can disagree (for example: “hey, Christ is still dead, the body’s still here!”). other Gospels, including Philip, Mary Magdalene, Thomas, and dozens of others were, historians and other scholars point out, written hundreds of years later. not too accurate (and obviously not written by the same apostles / biblical figures!). not reliable, even if they agree with the first four. what more if they don’t agree with the four (and in some parts they don’t) – what would you believe?
3. the apostles’ creed (set of beliefs), along with the Gospels, was already formed during the lifetime of Christ’s followers. After Jesus’ ascent and the Pentecost, Peter (the same guy who denied Christ thrice) was already declaring to his fellow Israelites that they “killed the Author of life, whom God raised from the dead (Acts 3:15).” Paul (who earlier hunted down Jesus’ followers) was mocked by the Athenians because he was preaching the resurrection of the dead (Acts 17:22-34). Philip shared the Good News to Samarians (Acts 8:5-8) and to an Ethiopian high official (Acts 8:26-40). and so on. there was a Jerusalem council during the time of Peter, Paul and the other early followers/leaders but to tackle Jewish-Gentile issues (Acts 15:1-35). implications: people living centuries later (e.g. Nicean council) did not decide on whether they were going to worship a god or a man. it’s been settled ever since eyewitnesses saw the Resurrection.

there are other issues and clarifications which to be honest i don’t remember anymore. but a fair court hearing deserves all sides to be heard. aside from reading and watching “The Da Vinci Code”, the above items are based on the Bible and the following resources:
Breaking the Da Vinci Code” by Darrel L. Bock
The Da Vinci Deception” by Erwin Lutzer
and i just saw this comprehensive article on Christianity Today, updated april 2006.

if there’s one thing that Dan Brown and i would probably agree on, it’s this: don’t be afraid to ask questions. have an open mind before believing, and even then, to keep that openness. i confess i worry that too much “openness” can lead to believing every draft of wind that comes my way. but at the other extreme, too much closed-mindedness leads to arrogance, and what if you closed your mind before coming upon the correct answers?
there has to be a balance between an open mind and a strong faith. Ralph Waldo Emerson once said: “All that I have seen enables me to trust the Creator for all that I have not seen.” that’s not blind faith at all, contrary to how i once looked at God-loving people.
fellow believers, let’s not condemn those who haven’t encountered God yet, but hear them out instead. In our actions, let’s show them that a loving God truly exists. skeptics/agnostics/doubters/atheists, i was once like you too. if you entertain the possibility that the God of the Bible is not true, entertain the other possibility too. perhaps, perhaps, there may be some truth to what the others are saying. it would not hurt to take a closer look.
“Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives, and the one who seeks finds, and to the one who knocks it will be opened (Matthew 7:7-8).”
“Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and eat with him, and he with Me (Revelation 3:20).”