Processing Death

Death:

Kuya Emil said, death is both certain and uncertain. Certain, because it will come to us no matter how hard we try to stop it. What we don’t know is the how and the when. Death forces us to take stock of our lives because it follows us around as it is its nature. Somehow, it helps us stay grounded knowing today could be our last. Since it could be our last, we also want to to live meaningful lives. People seem afraid to ask the whys of life because the answers don’t come easily and when it does, we are confronted by its rawness and brutality. BUT it also responds with beauty and wonder and hope and love.

Jesus’ victory over death doesn’t have to end at “YEY we are going to live forever in heaven AMEN!” I think if Jesus’ goal is to bring us to heaven, he would’ve left us a prayer that will help us get there the fastest way. That’s very simplistic and frankly, it’s just an evacuation mission.

I think there’s got to be something more profound in his triumph. Maybe, if we live in such a way that when our time is up, we will continue to live on through those we’ve shared life with. We are all bits and pieces of our loved ones. Just as Jesus is alive in and through his disciples. Maybe, that’s what eternity means.

Friday Take

Naniniwala ako sa capacity ng tao maging mabuti. However you want to stretch the word, naniniawala ako na ang mga tao ay may kakayanan maging maayos na tao na hindi nangangailangan ng moral standard na itinakda ng isang religion or organization. May pagka humanistic ba? Maari. Ibig ba sabihin nito ay hindi na tayo dapat maniwala sa Diyos or sa kung anong belief system ang pinaninwalaan natin? Hindi lang Bible ang pinaghuhugutan ko ng way para mabuhay dahil madami sources out there na hindi nagututuro ng mali.

It’s quick for most evangelicals to pass judgment na pag hindi galing sa bible, hindi na valid. Naiintindhan ko kung bakit ganun ang pananaw na iyon dahil bukod sa galing ako sa tradition na un, when we feel and think that the truth belongs to a certain group of people, everything else become inconsequential. Now, you may continue embracing that belief na God belongs to the bible and the bible is the source of absolute truth. As long as it makes you treat your neighbors with love and respect.

Naniniwala ako sa capacity ng tao maging mabuti dahil sa aking pananaw ay ginawa tayo ng Diyos na makatao at ginawa nya tayo sa wangis nya, according to my Christian upbringing. Atheists would probably point out that god/s dont exist. And some would easily point out that Christianity is a copied concept from ancient religions. I could go on and on defending why I remain a follower of Jesus but I don’t see the point.

I think what fascinates me the most about Jesus is that he is so human. He is the most human we can refer to when talking about humanity at best. Again, feel free to disagree. It’s ok.

Paths

I was driving one time and I intentionally got myself lost. Just enjoying the journey of unknown roads and unfamiliar territory. Something is spiritual about the experience of exploring roads that existed before I ever did. We are often misled by the our belief in absolute truths, making it hard for us to accept what others think is truth. Certainty is a myth.

There’s beauty in getting lost and finding out ways to get back on the road. Sometimes we have to go through back alleys and narrow roads to get to our destination. While we know there’s a route that everyone knows, sometimes we have to discover those backroads and alleyways. Do you find yourself being amazed when you discover you can get to points a to b a hundred different ways?

HELL

I have a problem with hell. The idea of hell. The idea that we are to choose Christ because we want to avoid hell. Often we look at this as God’s justice. How is that just? So God is ok with you suffering endlessly just because you fell short of his glory? It’s problematic in so many ways. If hell exists, who created it? If God created everything and if he is good and loving, would he create such a grotesque place? A place of terror, torture, pain, suffering, etc. Why would a good God create such a place? I can’t accept the idea of a good and loving god who’d create such an evil place. A person who wants evil persons to suffer in hell is also evil. How about those who have not prayed the sinner’s prayer because they don’t know God because they live in the mountains, they are “unreached” by the gospel? Is it their fault that they worshipped a different god? Is God not going to save them because of their ignorance? Is that how God would do it? Is that LOVE? The idea of heaven is a little problematic if you have to have hell. The idea that we will forever enjoy eternity with our God while your friend is suffering in hell for the same duration that you are enjoying heaven is turning a blind eye to evil. No more tears, no more pain, yet on the other side, there’s just tears and pain. The thought that we will enjoy heaven forever and ever and not mourn those who are in hell requires brainwashing, wiping our brains out and replacing it with robotic impulses. So heaven is where we will worship God forever and ever glorifying him? He still needs our worship to be glorified? Forever? Sounds like a god who is so full of himself. Is that how God really designed it? How about those who are already suffering a hellish experience and then commits suicide? They’d go to hell? Earth is already hell for them and then what awaits them is far more cruel. Does that sit well with a good God? WHY create hell? Because God cannot stand evil? Hell is evil yet God created it? Oh hell was created for the Satan? So Satan needs to be punished? who is Satan? what is the Satan? IF hell is created for the Satan, why include humans? God’s ways are not ours, his thoughts are higher than ours? OK maybe our finite minds cannot wrap itself around the idea of a God that seems fine punishing people because he is holy and wont stand sin. But if God’s problem is sin, can’t he purge from us the sins we have committed and ask us if we still choose him because he values our freewill?

Which is more just, the existence of eternal conscious torment or God allowing us to choose him or not and then allowing us to seize to exist should we decide not to be with him? What would a loving God do? If God is Jesus in human form, what would he do?

Photo not mine

link to the photo used: https://images.app.goo.gl/LQz5xixy6Lnork2m6

A Time for Everything

There’s a Right Time for Everything

There’s an opportune time to do things, a right time for everything on the earth:

2-8 A right time for birth and another for death,
A right time to plant and another to reap,
A right time to kill and another to heal,
A right time to destroy and another to construct,
A right time to cry and another to laugh,
A right time to lament and another to cheer,
A right time to make love and another to abstain,
A right time to embrace and another to part,
A right time to search and another to count your losses,
A right time to hold on and another to let go,
A right time to rip out and another to mend,
A right time to shut up and another to speak up,
A right time to love and another to hate,
A right time to wage war and another to make peace.

9-13 But in the end, does it really make a difference what anyone does? I’ve had a good look at what God has given us to do—busywork, mostly. True, God made everything beautiful in itself and in its time—but he’s left us in the dark, so we can never know what God is up to, whether he’s coming or going. I’ve decided that there’s nothing better to do than go ahead and have a good time and get the most we can out of life. That’s it—eat, drink, and make the most of your job. It’s God’s gift.

14 I’ve also concluded that whatever God does, that’s the way it’s going to be, always. No addition, no subtraction. God’s done it and that’s it. That’s so we’ll quit asking questions and simply worship in holy fear.

15 Whatever was, is.
Whatever will be, is.
That’s how it always is with God.

Ecclesiastes 3 MSG

TGIF

It’s been like this for the past weeks, I’d wake up at 3AM and just stay in bed. Me and my thoughts then I’d fall asleep again. There’s always an ongoing conversation in my mind about God, life, meaning, purpose and other stuff that keeps me awake at 3AM before sleep claims me back.

I’m bad with titles because most of the time, what I write is not even connected to the title itself. This post is about the internal conversations that bleed out to me responding to facebook posts of random people. You have to have a certain kind of peace to respond to accusations being thrown at you by people you don’t know. The peace of letting go of your right to be right is more liberating than making sure you got your point across. I’m still working on it. I think everyone’s still working on it. It’s easy to just respond just because you are right and dismiss the other person’s understanding and/or opinion on things.

We are so addicted to certainty and being right that it causes us to try to convince another person that we are right and they are wrong. I think the solution to that is abandoning the myth of certainty and embracing the ever changing journey of faith. Being right or certain about things makes it easy to create factions of us vs them. Both sides throwing stones in the name of truth, forgetting we are called to love one another.

How then should we respond to accusations of heresy? Well, Jesus forgave and loved. I think we all can do the same.

-Jonas

My Take on Religious Facebook Responses

A quick disclaimer, I appreciate the thought that was put in when someone wishes you well or someone celebrates with you for overcoming illness, passing an exam, meeting a deadline, closing a sale, landing a job, and sometimes when someone was able to buy an iPhone.

I just have some thoughts on it. I hope you don’t me sharing a little.

“Praise GOD! He is our great healer!”- while God is indeed a healer, I don’t find this to be entirely accurate. The doctors did their job that’s why I am well. Now did God have anything to do with that? Yes! I’m just saying it’s more indirect than God actually using his powers to heal me. I think God affirms science in that he wouldn’t want us to rely on supernatural means for cure. What could be a more appropriate response to a healing? You can come up with your own but here’s mine: “Thank God for the doctors who helped to get you better” or “God is there with you and the doctors did a good job at helping you get back to your feet”.

“Praise God! He is our great provider” – Sure, God provides us with opportunities. We have jobs, we have businesses. But the money you used to pay off your child’s tuition did not directly come from God. Again, he does not want you to rely on supernatural resources. So I guess it’s lazy to just credit God for a job that you performed. It’s you who earned that money or closed that sale. He made you who you are that’s why you are capable of performing in your job, you have gotten sales training that’s why you’re able to close that sale. God is always making sure you are capable of those things. The fact that you are working and getting training is testament to God putting that passion in your heart and that skill to good use. What could be a more appropriate response to provisions we receive? Here would be my response: “Thank God you got that training in closing sales! Congratulations!”, “Thank God we are able to work so we can provide for our families”.

Now, I’m not saying you’re wrong in using those phrases to glorify God, but i think God is already glorious enough that he can share the glory with his people. that includes you.

(inserted an unrelated image)

Our Daily Peace

What have I been up to lately? None. Just recovering from covid and spending time in silent contemplation. I have been using the words, silence, contemplation, quietness lately. We have always been so enamored by the idea that there needs to be something going on in our life. That Idea drained me. I feel like I have to always be doing something to feel productive. I always have to please the people around me by trying to be all for them.

The constant fight to be seen has taken its toll on me. I notice myself working hard for validation. So I try even harder because validation feels good. If you want to lose yourself, seek validation. Try hard to please everyone. We have been conditioned by social media that the norm is you have to have this and that and you have to have girlfriend that does this and that or a boyfriend that takes care of your every need or puts you first on the list. Life becomes a task of being noticed, being number 1 on the list.

I like what Jesus said here: “Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to me. Get away with me and you’ll recover your life. I’ll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with me and work with me—watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won’t lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with me and you’ll learn to live freely and lightly.” (Matthew 11:28-30 The Message)

Jesus is always inviting us to join him. You shouldn’t be surprised that he is there in your chaos too! He wants to trade off your chaos to his peace. When in Christ, you won’t need the world’s validation. In abiding in him, you will truly find peace. He will show his rhythm. He does not have to try to impose on you, you will just find beauty in him that you’ll want that beauty too.

Our daily peace comes from abiding in Jesus and in our constant conversations with him, we will become like him. We will then become peace to others.