Faith

Coming Home

Dear readers, time and time again I always come back to the same place.  Some think that life in its own funny way always makes you go round in circles.  However, its just probably us.  Our now and yesterday just intertwine pressing the play and replay many times.

Maybe that’s why many believe that we live over and over again in different time periods during the infinite life of our spirit.

For instance, I love cats.  What I like the most of them is their unbothered way of life.  They just go about doing their own thing.  However, my point is that during my life I’ve always had a cat, as a child I recall having a white Siamese cat, Mom told me recently that she wasn’t white, but black, probably she’s confused with my other cat, Miss Me-aw.  I had a hard time after she passed, so it took me a while to let another cat into my life.  My son convinced me of adopting a kitten and four years down the road, Jinx  lives happily (or I would think) with us in our home.

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But hey this isn’t about cats!!! So let’s move on.

Isn’t it quite funny how things just happen to us so many times, the SAME things.

So, why wouldn’t it be different with my blog.  When I first started writing I was invested in it.  My blog was a way I would write myself through my difficulties, but than I just lost the thirst for writing.

It transitioned from reacting to Sunday’s sermon, to a place where I began growing as a person.  It was an eye opener to what was going on in a world that I had never bothered to look at closely.  Injustice rang loud and clear as I witnessed devastation created by those with power.  I began to question what I had thought was my faith.

I saw Christianity with new eyes.

I saw Buddhism with new eyes.

I began reading books about how to live a mindful life.

My spiritual exploration had been set in place and all these years down the road it’s still is.

Believing is a place where that exploration takes  place and I think I’m over with people who put you down spiritually.   It’s time to come back home and just write about the ups and down of life and faith.

My fingers are eager to type away my thoughts and experiences of a new path I’ve discovered.  A path where my spirit rests knowing that each and every day I try to not fall into practices that do  not contribute to my growth or those who I encounter with each day.

Because at the end of the day, we all want to feel the comfort of being in peace with ourselves  and the world, we all want to come home.

See you around and thanks for stopping by.  Hasta pronto!

Presbyterian Church

“Do you really think God cares?”

This question popped up recently during a conversation with one of my sons.

It actually popped up when he was talking about how one of his classmates each time they were working on an investigation would say, “With God’s help” at the beginning of each lab session. Even though he kept his thoughts to himself, he really didn’t agree with her.  He thought, “Do you really think God cares about this?”.

Well, immediately he landed the question, I gave him the “I’m going to have to knock some sense into you right now” look.

My immediate reaction was,  “Whoa, what’s gotta into you today?”

He said,  “Stop Mom, what I’m trying to tell you is that there is so much going on in the world that my investigation isn’t God’s priority right now, we’ll just have to figure it out on our own.”

He went on to tell me that everything in our world is about balance. He believed in a Superior Being that guided us through life, but it wasn’t really about us as individuals.

His words stayed on the back of my head for some weeks.

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In developed countries like ours, most of the things we tend to worry about are basically stupidities.

It’s not a secret that I’m one of the Frozen Chosen and we’ve made the news lately because our denomination is open not only to non-celibate homosexuals being ordained, but also to same sex marriages.

Well, for some that makes us  the chosen from hell kind of Christians.

Well, if you think about Jesus and what and who He preached to,  it’s not that bad.  He taught us through example to love the outcasts and those who have no worth to society.

There is a saying in Spanish that goes, “Lo menosprecian” meaning people who think others are worthless because of how they’ve acted in the past.  Wow! Are we full of it, or what?

People aren’t perfect and that’s part of our humanity, when the time comes we’ll know if we were right or way wrong.  However, the only one that will set our record straight will be God.

Moving on to our main discussion, which is,

“If God really cares about the menial stuff we worry so much about?”

My answer would probably be, that he cares about us.  The rest He tends to rely on our practicality and good judgment to deal with the rest.

In a world where famine is basically the major problem that leads to major issues.  Professor Michael Chossudovsky perfectly outlines the situation when he writes,

“The New World Order feeds on human poverty and the destruction of the natural environment.  It generates social apartheid, encourages racism and ethnic strife, undermines the rights of women and often precipitates confrontations between nationalities.”

There is much more where this came from and we can go on forever discussing the reach of all these factors, however, the important thing here is that we really don’t know first hand what famine is.

We’ve become God’s spoiled brats.

The United States government issued the poverty line for Puerto Rico to be fifteen thousand or less. IN other words, if you make $1,250 per month you are going to face economic prejudice.  In Puerto Rico sad to say, it’s not really about education, or your ability to land a great job, it’s more about who you know and the connections you have.  So many of us have to make ends meet with an yearly income of more or less twenty thousand.

We need to step out of our insularism.

Let’s look at Haiti, not very far away from Puerto Rico, with a major per capita income of $400 a month.  In other words my friends, a monthly income of $33.

I feel wealthy in comparison, but what do I really do about it?

Does God care about all these dramatic issues?

YES!

But, I might just wonder for a second, that He’s going to care more about Haiti than for us.  Specially in a world where large areas of our global population live below the REAL poverty line where famine is just a step away.

Rosa Robles and her family.

Does he really care about our Church’s Anniversary itinerary or about what we think is sin, or all the debate that has our local synod buzzing or does He care a bit more for Rosa Robles who lives in sanctuary in South Side Presbyterian Church?

A temple that not only is where people gather to worship, but also is a home for a woman and her family.  Where it’s members protect and become our Lord’s hands and voice to help one of his children facing the government.

Our denomination has such a strong social justice calling and basically one of the things that makes me Presbyterian.

That’s why not only do we believe in equality for ALL of God’s children, we also care enough to donate our time and resources to a small  Kitui (Kenya) area for it to have  enough water to build a strong community where resources like water are now close and not miles away from home.

Less then thirty people were able to work with this community to help them complete this project.  God cares enough to move our spirits towards generosity to give freely and joyfully to this and other projects through One Great Hour of Sharing.

If we have to deal with chronic illness, homosexuality, divorce, separation, grief, economic hardship, family issues, deciding to get married or not, our children, our personal projects, money or jobs and so many more other things then let it be.

All of these situations are particular to each one of us and all come in boxes that our Lord places in our hands with ribbons.  The ribbons are the many opportunities He gives us to handle them.

The truth is, we want our lives to be perfect, and that my friends is not going to happen. So, in a sense you can say God cares, but not as much as He does for those who struggle each day for survival.

So my dear “amigos” and “amigas” please let’s get over ourselves and open up to a global world that has more to the eye then we can possible see.  Life is full of endless opportunities and blessings,  just stretch out your hand to catch some of them and never stop believing in yourself or life’s beauty.

“Hasta la próxima.”

Faith

The Power of a Man’s Healing Hands

Like every year on Easter Sunday morning I went to church.

The white mantle was on our empty cross as a symbol of Jesus’ Resurrection.

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No longer was Christ crucified but, in the presence of our Heavenly Father.

His time on the face of Earth had passed, he no longer would be among humans to heal not only their bodies, but their souls.

Jesus was a healer.  He repaired and restored the lives of others changing them along the way.

As a man he lived on principle and died due to those same principles.  His message was filled with compassion, love, social justice and among everything else diversity.  His words were those of an open mind and heart.

If I wouldn’t believe this, I wouldn’t even bother to visit a church.

However I ask myself, where exactly have some of us taken a U-turn and changed all of his teachings into hatred for those who do not share our own views or beliefs.  Just as an example, why do we need to attack those who proclaim that they are atheists?  Don’t you think Jesus would have spoken to them, listened carefully trying to get through to them, and just making them think about what they believe in?

Are atheists are enemies?

Bill Gates is a proclaimed atheist, one of the richest man on this planet, but has one of the most generous souls I have ever heard of.  He’s donated over 70 million dollars to charity.  He’s made a difference in the lives of many, taking social justice to another level.

Are homosexuals are enemies?

Being a heterosexual or homosexual is all about sexual preferences.  Some of us are honest to the core and just admit what they want or don’t want.  I’m not sure we really need to become judges on this particular point, we just need to accept people for who they are, not how they like to do things in a sexual perspective.

Did Jesus proclaim us judges of character of others?  I don’t think so, we should take a look at ourselves before we begin throwing rocks at others.  Didn’t Jesus teach us this lesson, when he extended his healing hands to others no matter what they did or didn’t do.

When did we stop emulating Jesus as healers and become destroyers?

Where is our compassion?

Why cant the Easter message be one of love and kindness to one another?

Why are we nauseated just thinking in diversity?

Today we joked as we had lunch and one of my sons told me,

“Mom if Satan really exists, he’s probably incarnated in those who are full of hatred towards anyone who is different even if they have a cross and a bible in their hands.”

When is it going to stop?

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Probably the day we stand strong and say, STOP!

Stop talking about hatred,

Stop being narrow-minded,

Stop speaking about non-acceptance to others,

Stop making fun of others because they are different,

and above anything else just stop using Jesus’ teaching to attack others.

So my dear friends, just raise your voice and stop hatred! Let us embrace our faith through our Lord’s true perspective.  One of love, compassion and kindness and maybe then we can also become the healers of the broken society that surrounds us making a difference in our world.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Faith

The Embarrasment of Being a Christian

Visiting my church in the past brought not only peace of heart, but also joy.  Sadly this has changed, and has made me doubt the fundamentals of my whole life.

I’ve been visiting the same church for about thirty-seven years.

My first visit was when I was barely eleven years old.  If you do the math you’ll know I’m forty-seven years old.

I’ve felt embarrassed for some time now. Not only for those who proclaim they are Christians, but also for myself.

It has been something gradual, probably that’s where I stopped calling myself a Christian, but a believer.  In what do I believe in???  In Jesus, God and the Holy Spirit,  in mankind’s good nature, and in the fact that anyone who is still alive has an opportunity for redemption.  God’s love is extended not only the kind and compassionate, but also to  the cruel and sinister as well.

Some may think, “Wait hold your horses, is this lady off beat or what?”  Isn’t she Presbyterian, isn’t she from the “frozen chosen clan”?  Somebody, please tell her to read the manual!

Whoever said that we needed to believe in all dogma and theology that was ever drilled in our heads? My denomination has or never will control what I chose to believe in or not.  The good thing is that I actually get to chose what I want  to believe in!

However, it doesn’t stop there in just believing, it’s about doing something with my calling.   Trying to be as good as I can, and even if I fail,  picking up the pieces and trying all over again.  Trying hard to never be the same as I was before.

It’s about trying to find compassion within me to reach out to those in dire need.  However, if I can’t be the one that’s doing the work in the field being our Lord’s hands and voice, then I’ll have the blessing of  supporting or praying for  someone who can be.  The magic is all about finding my place in the big picture.

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Never judging others, and certainly trying to live up to Jesus’s highest preach, love to God above all things, and to our brother and sister as if they  were are own selves.

It has been often where I’ve heard the words, “those people” voiced by some members of my own congregation and others.  Referring not only to the homeless, drug addicts but also to the homosexuals.

Didn’t Jesus preach love and acceptance?  Didn’t He say that he came to all?  Didn’t he question each and one of the people who followed him.

Whereas our preach, is exactly what?

The homosexual population are attacked so often people think that’s the norm.  We’ve made them feel like aliens among us.  Isn’t being a Christian about love, honesty, courage, and faith.  Whereas love is the jewel of the crown.

Probably the worst I’ve felt in a while was after reading a hateful comment some Christians left on a receipt for the waiter that tended their table.  Industry Life made an important point when he posted it on his blog.  I felt overwhelmed for a moment, and then I thought “What the f&%ck happened there!”

We congregate together, we are united, but at the same time divided at heart.  Many little things have undermined my faith in Christianity and my congregation.  I know as a fact that many with their mouths,  bless the Lord, but with that same mouth condemn their brothers or sisters in faith and life.

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Now a days just saying I’m Christian doesn’t bring joy to my life.

I’ve tried with all my heart to re-find the joy and happiness that just sitting in church used to give me.  Yet, it’s gone and I’m heartbroken just to think it never will come back.

How can we be detached about all the wrong that goes on thinking that never in a lifetime will it happen to us.

All what is left is to stop, and ask ourselves as Jesus himself did when two of John’s disciples followed him after listening to John when he proclaimed, “Look, here is the Lamb of God.”  He turned around and asked them,  “What are you looking for?”

That same question is still as valid today as it was two thousand years ago,  “What are we looking for?”.

Is it bad to question yourself?

If so, why was Jesus so famous for always asking questions?  Challenging what the people in his historical realm believed in.

And this my dear friend can only lead us to the following questions, what do YOU believe in and what are YOU looking for?

Faith

Would you kiss the leper clean?

It’s been a while since any song has touched me, however I was profoundly moved by hearing John Bell’s The Summons.

My daughter sent it to me so I could understand why she wanted to become a minister.  This next fall she’ll be attending Seminary either in Princeton or Chicago.  She’s not going to be the ordinary minister, but the way out of the box one.  She’ll lead protests, rallies and will put herself on the line over and over again, and my heart bleeds just by the thought of it.  However, she is what she is and I’m nobody to put my voice in her head saying, “She can’t do it”.

Her turning point was becoming a volunteer in a church in Tucson, Arizona that became a sanctuary during the San Salvador Civil War.  She got out of her comfort zone and went for it, without full understanding what she was getting into.

She feels strongly about social injustice and is adamant in women’s rights.   As the song’s lyrics go by, there is a part that says, “Would you kiss the leper clean, if I would call your name?”

I’m more than sure she would.

Stephanie is the first from left to right.
Stephanie is the first from left to right.
Thank you Lamp Left Media (Alonso Parra) for such a beautiful picture.

However, this post isn’t about her or her calling.  It’s about the voices inside us, my friends know I’m a strong believer in signs and precisely yesterday as I attended service at my church, the person who was sharing a reflection in our Sunday Bible School (which I usually don’t attend), asked us why we had believed?

How did we become believers,  where and how our calling occurred?

Isn’t the purpose of soul-searching spiritual en-lightning, so we can make a difference in the world that surround us?  Part of the lyrics of The Summons said, “Will you use the faith you’ve found to reshape the world around?”.

Some shared stories that seemed to come out of a twilight dimension, others said it was logic, others said that they had heard voices, others said that they had feared to come to the front of the congregation, but had felt the need to move forward.

As I listened carefully to other people, I wondered myself, why was I there?

Does your calling come only once in life or does it come many times?

Yesterday as I thought about writing on my blog, my thoughts drifted and ended up not writing anything.

However, today when Steph sent me this song, it all came back to me.

I asked myself, why do I continue going back to that building that is as old as I am and continue to sit on the same pew, and listen to the same people?

Is that really what I’m suppose to do?

If I’m truly a believer and God knows I am, is it true that If He did call my name, why haven’t I followed him?

Corcovada

Why am I the same person???

I’m not even sure if I’ve really heard anyone, less God himself calling my name.

Or is it that He has called my name, but I haven’t turned and listened carefully enough?

It’s so easy to fall inside a fantasy world where being a believer is all about attending service every Sunday, saying God bless you, and hugging people just like us.  And so hard at the same time, to step outside this world and truly become believers and reshape all that surrounds us, making it a better place, while putting ourselves out there where we can be harmed in the process.

This is my dear friend, the question of all the questions, how far are we willing to go, if our names were called?