The Destruction Of American Society Has Started

The Destruction Of American Society Has Started

Welcome to the beginning of the destruction of American society. America is now officially a gay country. The family union is now going to be destroyed and over time Christian religion will be targeted and forced to comply against their convictions, except Mosques will be exempt obviously, and the history of America will no longer be acknowledged for any symbol such as a flag that the progressives deem offensive will be taken down and hidden or thrown away. Believe me we think maybe we have had enough but parents have already failed to grow up intelligent children who have rational thinking and allowed public schools and college professors to raise their kids who will now vote in the next progressive regime who will make government larger and bigger and bigger until it controls every little aspect of our lives from what we eat, what we are allowed to say, and what we think. We are already using population control and murdering babies even at late term in the womb, and allowing assisted suicide to thin the population and the lie of global warming is used as a fear tactic to control further. No one will be able to make money and gain wealth or get out of debt to the government for college loans, welfare, and other things we will be taxed on further until no one is rich and everyone is poor except the government. And we will have no guns at all fight fight back with to keep the government in check because everyone will give them up because of the few James Holmes and Roofs.

God will not honor the sin of America and we will only continue to fail unless there is somehow a turn back in the right direction. It seems unlikely. The government dictates to everyone what is to be done and forced upon us even if every state votes something down. All that matters is the activist judges.

Yoga Is Not For Christians

Yoga Is Not For Christians 

        Health and fitness in the last 15 or so years has become increasingly mixed with New Age spirituality. It is no longer just science about burning calories and fat, and becoming healthier in the body. It is now a “mind body” experience. A “holistic” experience. There is nothing wrong with a healthy mind and body. But it has gone beyond just mind and body and into spirit. So now it is “mind, body, spirit” that people think they are nurturing when doing fitness activities. This attitude is mostly promoted by practitioners of Yoga.

        The website hinduwisdom.info states,

Yoga sutra consists of two words only: yogash chitta-critti-nirodah, which may be translated: “Yoga is the cessation of agitation of the consciousness.”

The word yoga is derived from the root yuj, which means to unite or to join together. The practice of yoga may lead to the union of the human with the divine – all within the self. The aim of yoga is the transformation of human beings from their natural form to a perfected form. The Yogic practices originated in the primordial depths of India’s past. From this early period the inner attitudes and disciplines which were later identified and given orderly expression by Patanjali. 

According to Patanjali’s Yoga Sutra, the classical text on yoga, the purpose of yoga is to lead to a silence of the mind (1.2). This silence is the prerequisite for the mind to be able to accurately reflect objective reality without its own subjective distortions. Yoga does not create this reality, which is above the mind, but only prepares the mind to apprehend it, by assisting in the transformation of the mind – from an ordinary mind full of noise, like a whole army of frenzied and drunken monkeys – to a still mind.” (http://www.hinduwisdom.info/Yoga_and_Hindu_Philosophy.htm)

It also expresses: “Yoga is an integral part of the Hindu religion. There is a saying: “There is no Yoga without Hinduism and no Hinduism without Yoga.”

I took a Yoga class before at the YMCA because I worked there teaching Taekwondo and Kickboxing. I was waiting around for my class to start and followed along. Yes, the movements and poses they do can sometimes be challenging or build isolated muscles strength by various holds. It can also increase flexibility. This class was pretty much Yoga for yuppies and not a deeply spiritual class. The instructor did use terms that sounded new age and other expressions typical of Yoga instructors. But it was therapeutic in nature and also meditative. Like lying on your back and closing your eyes etc. Some of these drills can be used in a positive way but with Yoga’s historic roots it is obvious such classes are a gateway to New Age belief and Hinduism. This is something the Christian needs to avoid at all costs and not be open to. Of course I did not become demon possessed simply because I took a silly Yoga class for 1 hour and neither would anyone else. But over time becoming open to such ideas and getting deeper into the art you could very well open yourself up to unbiblical spiritual beliefs that can have a serous effect on you.

Yoga is simply a gateway into the eastern mystical traditions for the western culture. It is a shame many churches hold Yoga classes for their congregations. Yoga is simply a way that Satan uses to influence people and to soften their views of mysticism, new age, and occultic practices. We should shun it.

When I came back from the Philippines and was walking out of Los Angeles International Airport a Hare Krisha cult memeber gave me a tract talking about reincarnation. I took it home to see what they believe. Harre Krishna is a cult of Hinduism started in New York city by an Indian named Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada. It has gone international and has members worldwide. It is a modern Hindu sect. The man at the airport randomly wanted to speak to me and handed me several books. I had no clue what he wanted and I said, “Huh? You are giving these to me?” Then he demanded money and I said, “Money? No way! And gave them back.” He was pretty dumb about it. He was behaving in the manner of “No money? Then you cannot have these.” But he did give me a small booklet titles “Beyond Birth and Death.” It says i was written by “His divine grace, A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada, Founder-Acarya of the International Society for Krishna Consciousness.”

Chapter 2 of this booklet mentions some interesting things that Christians who are thinking about practicing Yoga should consider:

There are different kinds of transcendentalists, who are called yogis— hatha-yogis, jnana-yogis, dhyana-yogis, and bhakti-yogis— and all of them are eligible to be transferred to the spiritual world. The word yoga means “to link up,” and the yoga systems are meant to enable us to link with the transcendental world. As mentioned in the previous chapter, originally we are all connected to the Supreme Lord, but now we have been affected by material contamination. The process is that we have to return to the spiritual world, and the process of linking up is called yoga. Another meaning of the word yoga is “plus.” At the resent moment we are minus God, or minus the Supreme. When we add Krsna— or God— to our lives, this human form of life becomes perfect.” (p. 12)

It states further:

“‘One who, at the time of death, fixes his life air between the eyebrows and, (sic) by the strength of yoga, with an undeviating mind, engages himself in remembering the Supreme Lord in full devotion, will certainly attain to the Supreme Personality of Godhead.’ (Bg. 8.10 [meaning Bhagavad Gita 8.10 the popular 700 verse Hindu Scriptural book] ).” (p. 12-13)

This booklet goes on to explain concepts of Yoga helping the practitioner do transcendental meditation and traveling to planets and other such things and quoting more from the Bhagavad Gita. Such things described in the Hare Krishna booklet I received are clearly unbiblical and contrary to the Gospel of Jesus Christ. A person cannot attain perfection doing physical movements and meditating. A person does not have the divine “within self” and we do not have to return to a spiritual world. Humans are not connected to the “Supreme Lord” unless they are Christians who have the Holy Spirit living in them. Non-Christians are dead in their sins and not at all connected to God until they receive the Gospel message of repentance of their sins and faith in Christ for salvation. And most certainly no one is connected to a false god called Krishna or Krsna whom they deem in the “Supreme Lord.” That is idolatry.

It is clear Christians should NOT participate in Yoga or promote it. Before the Yoga trend athletes have always done various deep stretching, deep breathing, and other positive physical activities. They did not need a “spiritual” attribute to their athletic training. The Bible says, in 1 Timothy 4:8 expresses, “for the training of the body has a limited benefit, but godliness is beneficial in every way, since it holds promise for the present life and also for the life to come. ” Paul was clearly teaching that there is a separation from physical training and spiritual training. They are different. The soul and body are not 1 thing. They are separate things. We are stuck in our flesh in this sinful body, and while we live we should do physical training to stay healthy and last longer for the purposes of God. But physical training itself does not save you or benefit you eternally. Our bodies still die. The Bible of course warns us to stay away from unhealthy practices such as gluttony, laziness, drunkenness and other things that give the human body bad health. God does want us to work our bodies and maintain health. But what is more beneficial is true spiritual training and learning from God’s word. It is separate. Practices like Yoga try to combine them and make them one. This is wrong.

There are various physical arts, systems, and styles that a human being can practice. Not all of them are satanic like Yoga. Yes, anything not biblical and contrary to the gospel truth is Satanic and demonic. It was brought fourth by lies to deceive and soften people to sin. Yoga fits this. On the other hand, dancing styles, gymnastics, and various sports are not sinful or full of false religion. Martial arts are also positive and non-religious. The thing about martial arts is uptight legalists do not understand the difference between culture and religion. They assume eastern customs such as bowing to the instructor, or to flags or photos of previous masters are religious worship. This is not true. It is the same as the military saluting those soldiers who died before them and saluting the flags and symbols of their regiments. In martial arts it is purely physical activity unless you practice a style that incorporates Buddhism or another religion into your training. This can happen in certain styles, but one can ignore it and train the self defense techniques. I personally would not recommend any Christian training in a system that promotes a false religion as mandatory study.

In different parts of the world there are different dominate religions. Within a culture a religion does affect certain customs or behaviors, but not every behavior is sinful simply because of a dominant religion. Certain philosophies or ideas are not inherently sinful either. While martial arts can easily be separated from religions (and should be), Yoga cannot. It is strictly a religious practice for Hinduism. It should be avoided. Christians should instead do conditioning classes with deep stretching and a focus on breathing. Martial arts offer this. In Taekwondo I teach my students to stretch in all kinds of ways, Yoga uses some of the same poses as various athletic training, but the training itself does not need Yoga to benefit.

 

What You Need To Know About The Philippines If You Plan To Do A Mission

What You Need To Know About The Philippines If You Plan To Do A Mission

*I originally wrote this in 2008 for a class I was taking at Biola University for my Intercultural Studies Degree. I wrote this before I left on my internship. It is a report on the Philippines with various information to show I was prepared before I left to the country for my summer mission trip. Unfortunately I did not get to go in 2008, and instead had to re-plan to go in 2009 which I did and which made me even more prepared to go. I had a great time in the Philippines and was given many opportunities to serve Filipinos for Christ and witness the gospel. I learned a lot about life through this trip and it changed my life. I have updated bits and pieces to be more accurate for today even though I wrote this 7 years ago. This report will help anyone who wants more information about the Philippines or just has a general interest in other countries and experiences. Filipinos who read this will also get an understanding of what an American learned and thinks about their country.   

April 5th, 2008

Report on the Country of the Philippines: Research Before I Go On My Internship

I have planned my internship to be in the country of the Philippines in the capitol city of Manila. I will be working with missionaries in evangelization within the urban poor areas. There are many interesting things about this country that I have found out about before leaving on my internship.

The country of the Philippines is an archipelagic nation in South East Asia. It is below Japan and right above Indonesia. Directly left to it is Vietnam. According to the CIA website “the Philippine archipelago is made up of 7,107 islands; favorably located in relation to many of Southeast Asia’s main water bodies: the South China Sea, Philippine Sea, Sulu Sea, Celebes Sea, and Luzon Strait” (cia.gov).

In ancient times it was a region of different tribes and band societies. This pre-Spanish history of the country is very hard to know. According to Woods (2006), “The written materials about the pre-Spanish Philippines are not only scarce, but also written almost exclusively by outsiders” (p. 15). Nonetheless, we know that the Philippines was in contact with traders and merchants from China, Vietnam, Malaysia, Indonesia and the regions around it. Muslims came up through Malaysia and Indonesia and heavily influenced the southern region of the Islands in the area of Mindanao. To this day there are a lot of Muslims in that region and some are fundamentalists and terrorists. There is an Islamic terrorist organization called Abu Sayyaf. This started out as an organization solely for Islamic rebels, but has since become corrupt within its corruption and is now a front for typical organized crime such as kidnapping to hold people ransom. They especially go after white foreigners because they believe they would have a lot of money and rich relatives that would pay the ransom. They still try to kidnap other Filipinos as well. Colin-Jones G. & Colin-Jones Y. (2006) state that,
“The Abu Sayyaf Group (ASG), is funded through bombings, assassinations, kidnappings, and extortion, and its successful raid on Dos Palmas, an island off Palawan, has had a bad effect on tourism in the area. Such groups are not driven by ideology, but may rather be regarded as bandits seeking to make a fast buck. The sooner they are destroyed, the better it will be for tourism” (p. 126). I will not be doing my internship in that area so I am going to be safe from this problem.

In the past, Spain had ruled the Philippines for over 350 years. Ever since the arrival of Ferdinand Magellan in 1521 in the name of Spain, this nation has battled with self identity and oppression by other people groups. The problems with self identity in this country can even be seen by its own name, the Philippines; the name of Prince Philip of Spain (1542). Even today certain groups in the Philippines want to change their countries name to something else. Another issue that made matters more frustrating to the Filipinos was what happened in the Spanish-American War in 1899. The U.S. took advantage of Spain’s colony of the Philippines and attacked its harbor and took it over for their own control. This led to the Philippine-American War that started in 1899 just after the Americans defeated the Spanish to control the Philippines. Filipino rebels led by Emilio Aguinaldo fought against the United States in hope to be free from outside oppressors. This war was one of the most violent and brutal wars in Filipino and American history and lasted for about 2 years when it ended in 1901.

Not all Filipinos opposed the Americans though, as many understood that a lot of money was being put into the country from the USA. After the Americans won the war against the Filipino rebels they began a process of establishing infrastructure. The United States built many highways, roads, schools, hospitals and more. They built Navy bases to be used by American troops as well. Unfortunately this was impeded when the Japanese took over the Philippines in 1942 until 1945 during World War II. During this time the horrific Bataan Death March took place under the notorious General Yamashita, the Tiger of Malaya. Solis (1995) describes it:

The Bataan death March began on April 1, 1942, with more than 60,000 Filipinos and 11,000 Americans who had surrendered. They were forced to hike to San Fernando, 120 kilometers away. From there they were taken by train to Capas, Tarlac and made to walk another 13 kilometers to Camp O’Donnel. The 54,000 who survived the march which was nine days of “phantasmagoria of swirling red dust, sweltering horses and moving men…crawling in the fierce sun” suffered added torture, brutality and neglect in the prison camp. By liberation day, only 4,000 Filipino and American prisoners survived” (p. 63).

As you can see the Philippines is a country that has been through a lot of problems. It still is going through problems. Even after the Americans released the country to govern itself on July 4th of 1946, the Philippines has become very corrupt even though it is a democracy. One of the most notorious corrupt leader’s they had was named Ferdinand Marcos who became a dictator. He was president of the Philippines from 1965-1986. He declared martial law in his second term because he claimed that communist insurgency was a threat (which it was, but he was taking advantage of it). Steinberg (1990), quotes Marcos as saying, “I, as your duly elected President of the Republic, use this power to protect the Republic of the Philippines and our democracy” (p. 118). In reality, Marcos used martial law because he did not want to give up his authority since his term was about to expire. During this time there were a lot of human rights violations, but at the same time the economy was booming high so this excused him to many outsiders, especially the United States. Marcos was using the country for his own personal gain.

Eventually in 1986 there was a coup. After many mass protests with Filipino university students in colleges all over the world, and many in the United States, and other protests, people who were tired of Marcos’ dictatorship took up arms and went against Marcos forces. But there was virtually no bloodshed. Marcos fled the country and President Aquino took over who was a woman. Democracy was put back in place, but still the Philippines would be plagued with corruption in the government. The CIA website on the Philippines explains some of the recent history,

The 20-year rule of Ferdinand MARCOS ended in 1986, when a “people power” movement in Manila (“EDSA 1”) forced him into exile and installed Corazon AQUINO as president. Her presidency was hampered by several coup attempts, which prevented a return to full political stability and economic development. Fidel RAMOS was elected president in 1992 and his administration was marked by greater stability and progress on economic reforms. In 1992, the US closed its last military bases on the islands. Joseph ESTRADA was elected president in 1998, but was succeeded by his vice-president, Gloria MACAPAGAL-ARROYO, in January 2001 after ESTRADA’s stormy impeachment trial on corruption charges broke down and another “people power” movement (“EDSA 2”) demanded his resignation. MACAPAGAL-ARROYO was elected to a six-year term as president in May 2004” (cia.gov).

Today the current political climate in the Philippines is still corrupt in its government and even much of the police are corrupt and will take bribes, and put people in situations in order to get bribes. People still vote for things, but there are a lot of shady things going on behind the scenes. Many of the people know this and figure it’s something they can’t get past and just live life knowing corruption will always be there. The Philippines is very friendly to the United States as our country put a lot of effort into their country in the last century. Filipinos also greatly admire Western culture and the country has become very westernized. There were also many American military bases in the country, but in the 1990’s the country voted to kick them out so they no longer exist there. There are mixed feelings about this issue because many Filipinos realized that with the military bases lots of money was coming into their country and was helping out for their benefit. Other people saw it as imperialism still existing, and they still have very nationalistic feelings of being totally independent from outside forces. Interestingly enough Colin-Jones, G., & Colin-Jones Y. (2006) explain,

In general, Filipinos are very welcoming toward foreigners. Some people say that they still have a colonial ‘mentality,’ admiring fair skins and regarding imported goods as superior. There also is the stereotypical belief that all foreigners are very wealthy. For many Filipinos it would be a dream come true if they could go live in the United States” (p. 58).

The military bases were a mixed blessing. With these bases a lot of money did come into the country, but also many people took advantage of the fact that military bases are full of young, lonely men. Many Filipino’s opened up brothels, sex clubs as well as produced a lot of pornography. Since that time, many young helpless Filipina women were taken into sexual slavery and there now exists a large sex trade. There is still a huge prostitution problem in the country and many women are taken advantage of and kidnapped. Many women are traded overseas to places like Hong Kong, Japan, and other places. Many foreigners come to the Philippines to have sex with underage girls and even boys. Women are kidnapped after being scammed. They are told they will have a job working as a waitress or something similar, but in reality they are tricked into prostitution because the women are forced into debt with no way to pay back the owners of the businesses for the price of housing, and their only option is to give sex for money or else harm comes to them.
With this sexual attitude there is also a problem of the production of pornography being distributed around the world made by Filipinos. Filipinos are the main people responsible for much of the sex trafficking and degradation of their society. Foreigners interested in sex are only obliged by Filipinos themselves and the Philippines as a result has become one of the top sex tourist attractions of Asia not much beneath Thailand in popularity. This lifestyle promises easy money which will give lots of wealth. Women in desperate situations become involved in pornography. Many women who are single mothers want a better life for their children and they think the only way to do that is to do porn or become a prostitute. One of the major money making things from pornography has come with the popularity of the internet as there are many internet cafes in the urban areas. Many Filipinas sign up on what seems to be a system of network marketing for webcams. Women pose nude and do sexual acts on webcams for viewers who have paid with credit cards. They become internet prostitutes. This eases up the risk of STD’s since the women have a choice of what goes on and many times are alone on the camera. When I first heard about this I felt heartbroken for these women. These women need answers to life, and that answer is only through Jesus Christ.

My internship has been planned to be within the urban poor areas of the city of Manila. This city is the capitol of the Philippines and is known for their large shopping malls, but even within such a consumer based area, many people are poor and living in shacks. According to Woods (2006),

The hundreds of thousands of people who have moved to Manila to find their fortune, or simply a better way of life, often end up in slum areas around Manila…Most slum dwellers are squatters who lack such essential services as water and electricity. They are forced to drink water either from the government- supplied tap in the market or from polluted water-ways near by. The urban poor are always present in Manila, even in affluent sections; most of them are either unemployed or work as street vendors” (p. 147).

So you can see that there are a lot of problems in this city, even though it is a very glamorous and a famous place.

Most Filipino movies are also made here as well as TV shows and the country has five popular TV networks based in the city. There are also many theater production companies as well as two ballet companies: Ballet Philippines and Philippines Ballet Theater. There are also orchestras. With these attractions it is easy to forget the hundreds of thousands of poor people within the city boundaries. Fortunately, the church I am going with has a contracts set up with whom I will be a part of that will work in evangelization of these people and hand out food, teach Bible stories to kids, and other such things. Hopefully these efforts will make a difference for some people so they will find God.

There are a few major ethnic groups in the Philippines. Filipinos are descendents of Austronesian speaking peoples who migrated from Taiwan down to the Pacific Islands. There are many different groups of people. According to the CIA website the ethnic populations are: ”Tagalog 28.1%, Cebuano 13.1%, Ilocano 9%, Bisaya/Binisaya 7.6%, Hiligaynon, Ilonggo 7.5%, Bikol 6%, Waray 3.4%, other 25.3% (2000 census)” (cia.gov). The wealthiest ethnic group would have to be the Spanish mixed Mestisos. These people have a high degree of Spanish blood and are usually the upper class people. They have a lighter skin complexion that Filipinos favor as well. Then there are the Negritos which are various small tribe societies which are thought to be the original inhabitants of the islands. There are also a small amount of other Asian ethnic groups such as Koreans, Japanese, Chinese, Indonesian, Malaysian and others which are minorities. Most Filipinos have Chinese blood in them as well.

The major languages spoken in the Philippines which are listed on the CIA website are the following: “Filipino (official; based on Tagalog) and English (official); eight major dialects – Tagalog, Cebuano, Ilocano, Hiligaynon or Ilonggo, Bicol, Waray, Pampango, and Pangasinan” (cia.gov). Almost everyone speaks English in the Philippines, especially the educated. People also understand some Spanish because of the Spanish colonial rule had a huge affect on their language as Tagalog uses many Spanish loan words. There are also a significant amount of English loan words with the increase of technology and communication in the world.

Nonverbal language is also used in different ways in the Philippines than it is used in the United States such as their use of smiles. Colin-Jones G., & Colin-Jones Y. (2006) explain, “Filipinos are often regarded as happy, smiling people – but the smile conveys many different feelings, apart from contentment. They smile when they are embarrassed, confused, apologetic, critical, or in disagreement. They want to avoid confrontation, and are concerned about ‘losing face’” (p. 163). So Filipinos will smile if they cannot help you, or don’t understand you so you will not be angry. They also smile if you make a mistake to wait for you to recover. One should not assume the Filipino is laughing at them. They are simply helping you save face.
Eye contact is the same as American use of eye contact in the Philippines, but there are other interesting nonverbal uses of communication. Filipinos say “yes” with their eye brows. When asked a question it is normal for Filipinos to answer “yes” by raising their eye brows up and down one time. Also, Filipinos point with their lips when giving directions. They shape their lips in a “kissing” type of motion and turn their heads in the direction of wherever you want to go or wherever something is you are looking for. A westerner can often become confused by this as eye brow raising and lip pursing is seen as flirtatious in western culture.

With the Tagalog language the basic greeting is “Kamusta?” and that simply means “Hello, how are you?” Filipinos will also say “Hey” like Americans too. Another interesting word is “Hoy!” This word means “Come here!” It is usually said to get a friend’s attention who is far away or to speak to a child. You never say this to an elder or someone in a position of respect. To get a Filipino’s attention you can also say “Ssst!” or “Tssst!” It is not much unlike the American word of “Psst!” to get someone’s attention. With Filipinos, friends always use “tssst” to get each other’s attention. Also, using hand gestures to attract a person over to you would be to move your hand about chin height and wave as if saying goodbye in a downward motion. It is funny because in America this means “goodbye,” but in the Philippines it means “come here” or “over here.” Never use your fingers and curl them upwards to get someone to come over to you. That is seen as very impolite and rude. And do not snap your fingers to get anyone’s attention either. In America these may be common ways to get a person;s attention, but in the Philippines these are things you do to get a cat or dog’s attention, not a human’s. It is really offensive!

Filipinos are very indirect and they seek to save face in every situation. Their culture is a shame based culture and collectivistic in most senses. But the American influence of individualism is clearly coming around. Filipinos will not ask too many questions if it will make them look like they don’t know what they are doing. So knowing this I will have to make sure I tell Filipinos things they need to know so they can do things right if they are helping me in case I wanted a repair done or something. Otherwise they might just guess and break something. This happens a lot to foreigners.

Filipino society is very conservative outwardly and women dress modestly and so do the men. There is a huge influence of western culture that causes men and women to dress “American”, but generally Filipinos dress conservative and most of the time they are wearing t-shirts and shorts, because the weather is so hot and humid. But even with the weather so hot, the higher class Filipinos dress nicely and wear pants and women wear skirts and they wear nice shoes. Most other Filipinos wear sandals called “tsinelas”. But the “very conservative” attitude is changing a lot with the newer generation of young people who want to be more “liberated.”

Rice is the staple food of the Philippines. Without rice, a Filipino cannot live. Rice provides a significant amount of the nutrition they eat each day. Many Filipinos are poor so most of what they have to eat is rice. They eat rice at every meal. Other types of foods Filipinos eat are fish, chicken, and beef, many different kinds of tropical fruits and also vegetables. They even eat the bones of fish and put them in soup as to not waste food because some Filipinos are so poor they cannot always afford to have what Americans would think are “good slices of meat.” Many of the Philippines dishes are influenced by this philosophy or historic reality, yet they have made such “poor dishes” into delicacies truly unique to their country. Most of these foods are sold in the markets. Since the Philippines are many islands surrounded by water there is a big fishing industry.

Filipinos are very hospitable. If someone visits a Filipino’s home, the Filipino will always have some food to give to the guest. The guest has to receive the food no matter what, even if they are not hungry. This is polite. If you are not hungry you can ask for it to take with you to go. This is how Filipinos show their manners and are polite. When you visit a friend’s house in the Philippines make sure you are hungry because every time you go to a house you will be fed. Filipinos enjoy company and they will even ask questions that come off as too personal in American culture such as, “How much money do you make at your job?” when they don’t know you that well. This is not to be taken as rude, but showing a general interest in the people who they are talking with.

The national religion of the Philippines is Catholicism making the country the first and only “Christian influenced” nation in Asia. Almost every Filipino claims to be Catholic even if they don’t go to church. There are other religions such as Animism which is practiced more by the indigenous, rural tribal societies who have original religions that predate the Spanish. After Spanish rule witchcraft was also adopted into their superstitions. Shamanism, and sorcery have always been a part of their societies and Western witchcraft ideas and superstitions also became a part of it. With these religions there are a few Millenarian groups that mix indigenous beliefs with Roman Catholicism. In the south in the region of Mindanao there is a small Muslim concentration and the group Abu Sayyaf. The terrorist organization for Islamic Fundamentalism is active there. There are a small amount of Buddhists as well. Various Christian denominations have also arrived in the Philippines because of American rule and allowance of missionaries to arrive. Along with genuine Christian missionaries various cults such as Mormons, Jehovah’s Witnesses and others have also arrived. This is unfortunate, and another religion based off of these cults that has gained popularity in the Philippines is Iglesia Ni Kristo, which was founded by Felix Y. Manalo, a Filipino who used religion for his gain. The INC could be considered the Filipino version of Mormonism. It is a cult.

With all of these religions there is still Protestantism in the country. Woods (2006), says that

President McKinley’s [(The American president during and after the Philippine-American War)] decision to keep the Philippines included a religious component, the need to evangelize and convert the local population. He gained support for his decision from major denominations in the United States because they saw the Philippines as a new mission field where they would have the freedom to do missionary work. The rejection of Catholicism by many Filipinos because of the abuses of the church made them open to embracing a new religion” (pp. 124-125).

Unfortunately this turned into the spread of the social gospel which focused more on changes of the institution instead of changes in individuals’ lives. Today most evangelical Christians are Pentecostal. This probably has to do with their superstitious nature and emotional culture which leads them to seek after the supernatural experiences that Pentecostals practice. There are still a small amount of other evangelical denominations. Christianity in the country is viewed in a positive light since the majority of Filipinos are Catholic. They are open to talk about Jesus Christ, but there is still some strong opposition against Protestantism and what they call “born again Christianity” which they label to anyone who is not a Catholic. This included mainliners and baptists as well as mistakenly applied to cults.

When I stay in the Philippines the climate is going to be very hot and humid. I will arrive in Manila and catch another flight to Bacolod and Boracay later and then go back to Manila before leaving to the USA. There are about 240 airports in the country, but they are mostly small. The main one is in Manila where I will arrive. The CIA website lists the cities of Cagayan de Oro, Cebu, Davao, Liman, Manila, Nasipit Harbor having ports and terminals (cia.gov). The U.S. Embassy is in Manila as well. Knowing all of the information in my research I can better be effective as an agent to serve Christ with the small Fil-Am church in Southern California I am going with.

References

(2008) CIA – The World Factbook – Philippines. Retrieved April 5th, 2008, from the CIA Web site: http://www.cia.gov

Colin-Jones, G., Colin-Jones, & Y. (2006). Culture Smart! Philippines. New York, New York: Random House.

Steinberg, D. (1990). The Philippines a Singular and a Plural Place. San Francisco, California and Oxford: Westview Press.

Solis, M. (1995). Pilipinas A to Z. Salinas, California: Srmnk Publishers.

Woods, D. (2006). The Philippines: A Global Studies Handbook. Santa Barbara, California: ABC-CLIO, Inc.

 

God Mandated Taxes But He Did Not Mandate Wealth Redistribution

God Mandated Taxes But He Did Not Mandate Wealth Redistribution

        God mandated that people pay taxes. The first time this occurs in the Bible is in Exodus 30:11-16. Most Christians know that Jesus said, “Give to Cesar that which is Cesar’s and to God that which is God’s.” But many Christians might not remember, or know that God also commanded the ancient Israelites to pay a “ransom” tax. God commanded Moses:

“The LORD spoke to Moses: ‘When you take a census of the Israelites to register them, each of the men must pay a ransom for himself to the LORD as they are registered. Then no plague will come on them as they are registered. Everyone who is registered must pay half a shekel according to the sanctuary shekel (20 gerahs to the shekel). This half shekel is a contribution to the LORD. Each man who is registered, 20 years old or more, must give this contribution to the LORD. The wealthy may not give more, and the poor may not give less, then half a shekel when giving the contribution to the LORD to atone for your lives. Take the atonement money from the Israelites and use it for the service of the tent of meeting. It will serve as a reminder for the Israelites before the LORD to atone for your lives.'” 

This was a tax that only men had to pay. Women did not have to pay it. Only men had to pay this tax and they were commanded at age 20 to register for this “ransom tax.” So any time there was a need to take a census for the Israelites the men who were 20 or older had to pay half a shekel. That is not a large amount of money. It served to keep the tent of meeting services going. This atoned for their lives. If they did not pay it they would fall ill and by the language used probably die.

What is noticeable is that this tax was equal for all people. It was not more expensive for rich people, nor was it less expensive for poor people. It was the same tax. Today the idea of “wealth redistribution has been talked about, especially from President Obama” that each person needs to give their fair share. Democrats like Obama believe that rich people should pay an extra tax simply because they have success. It punishes people for success and rewards people for non-success, or less-success. A lot of liberals who claim to be Christians believe that socialist ideas of wealth redistribution are what Jesus would do. That God would want rich people to pay more. This is simply not true. The first statement in the Bible about any kind of charge, or tax for the collective Israelites states firmly that the payment is the exact same no matter their financial status. The tax was also very small and affordable for everyone. Also, the age was 20 and not 18 as it is in our country.

God does not hold favor for rich or for poor people and makes them all the same. God did not punish or charge more for successful, or rich class Israelites and neither should our government. Our government is corrupt and many liberals use the Bible to justify this coercion and our economy is failing. Taxes are charges for all kinds of things beyond reason that most people should not be forced to pay for. Americans should only have to pay for the necessities such as roads, police and fire departments, military defense, and government officials. Yet we are charged for so many failing public services that never allow people to rise above. It is an attack on capitalism. The separation of the “have nots” and “haves” is nowhere found in the Bible. But it is everywhere found in communism which is an atheistic religion of social construct. The Israelites were only charges for the necessities of the tabernacle’s functions so that God will be properly worshiped throughout their generations. There was no extra taxes for random government programs in Israel.

Jesus Christ is God and what God commands in the Old Testament is the same opinion Jesus had and has. Just because Jesus told people to give to Cesar what he demands does not mean Cesar was right to charge the taxes he did. That is why tax collectors were so hated in Christ’s time on earth. They were robbing the people. That is what the U.S. government seems to be doing today and crushing our economy so we are dependent solely on the government for anything. That is the goal of the progressives in our society in the United States.

Friends Flee But Christ Remains

Friends Flee But Christ Remains

        For various reasons many Christians lose friends whether they be secular friends or typical church-people friends. Because of sin in the world true brotherhood is very rarely played out. Deep in the soul of individuals we long for it but often times never get it. We are left alone. Friends don’t act like friends and don’t care about personal struggles and they really are not genuinely truthfully friends, but just tolerate you or are simply acquaintances. I was reading more of the book Strengthen My Spirit by Charles Spurgeon today, the sermon titled “Never Forsaken” speaks to me (p. 10).

“And they that know thy name will put their trust in thee: for thou, LORD, hast not forsaken them that seek thee.”   Psalm 9:10 (KJV)

A lot of times it is so hard to put my faith and trust in God because I am a weak sinner and I give into depression and evil thoughts. So much pain and anguish from the past comes back and there is no one to help. I often feel like I want to cease to exist, life is hard, I would rather die and go to heaven. Bad thoughts creep in and doubting because of Satan’s worldly lies. But Spurgeon exclaims,

How sweet it is to learn the Savior’s love when nobody else loves us! When friends flee, what a blessed thing it is to see that the Savior does not forsake us but still keeps us and holds us fast and clings to us and will not let us go! Oh, beloved brother and sister, believe that your remaining here on earth is for your eternal benefit.”  (p. 10)

It is very tough sometimes to let go of the feelings and fully trust and put faith in God during certain times. But the dark times usually pass and then I am back on track. I am always a continual work in progress. Friends in this world whether they be Christians or not are not the point of life. Though Christian friends who are helpful and love you are beneficial and used by God for your spiritual health. But the dark times in the world make genuine Christian friends more scarce and even the Christian ones fail miserably. Everyone fails including me. A person needs to hold on and live life through the pain and endure until God’s timing to call you home. Suicide or hoping to die will not benefit Christ as much as suffering and embracing it.

Unimportant, Unknown Christian More Glorious To God Than Famous Academic Or Person In Power

Unimportant, Unknown Christian More Glorious To God Than Famous Academic Or Person In Power

        So many people in Christian culture today seek approval of men and affirmation. They want to be considered an important person in Christian thought or academics or current theological trends. This is my opinion, and I believe it to be true that this issue has caused many false teachers and/or weak teachers who are regressing the faith of the Church. Whoever comes up with a new idea or a new concept is boosted to the highest seat of authority within popular church by the evangelical consensus. I have met people who’s entire sole purpose seems to be the approval of other Christians, to have them think of them as very intelligent and academic people. To be considered men of a wealth of knowledge we should listen to. They seek and find those who are impressed and will bow to their “wisdom” and seek more. If one thinks of them as not very knowledgeable or somewhat immature or new, or that they are trying too hard to impress and gain accolades they will ditch them and seek those weaker minded people out who will gently brush their egos. They may or may not understand they have a smug arrogance, or selfish desire to receive praise. Some are simply immature and delusional people, and some simply know what they want and seek it out. Either way both of these types end up with the same result. Often times they become liberal and speak whatever gives them praises and bow to heresies, or they turn off genuine humble Christians and relationships are destroyed. I believe a high degree of seminary students fit this label. I find them pretentious and annoying.

        I was reading “Strengthen My Spirit” which is a book that compiles lightly edited portions of sermons by C.H. Spurgeon. Page 12 is titles “Enduring Trials for God’s Glory” and mentions 1 Peter 1:6-7,

“Now for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials. These have come so that our faith of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire-may be proved genuine and may result in praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed.” (NIV)

Many Christians who are lowly, unknown, and humble or suffering people going through very trials whether it be physical, mental, or spiritual give God glory more so than the typical popular Christian leader. Or those considered important academics by the evangelical consensus. Often these new seminary students are seeking accolades to become the next John Piper or Al Mohler, or whatever name you want to throw out there. Or at least be on equal terms with these “men of distinction.”

        This behavior can make individual Christians feel inferior or less spiritual. Being around such young Christian guys who are talking theology and talking about whatever books they just read or who will explain a theological point at the drop of a hat can often reek of arrogance or a prideful attitude. As long as you listen to them and think they are future important evangelical superstars they will be your friend. But once you start showing you are unconcerned with their opinion or even feel the need to correct a false biblical idea, or some bad life choices they will slowly become less fond of you until they move on in life and reject you. Do not let such immature boys who want to be big strong theological giants because they seek approval harm your faith. These people are seriously immature and have low self esteem and try to build themselves up by doing what they can to show off, pretend to be independent thinkers who don’t need your input, seek accolades and affirmation up until they feel they surpass the need for your individual praise (because you stopped praising them). If they do this to you just move on and just keep being humble and try to grow your faith. The point of life is God’s grace and approval by Him because of His work to give God the glory. A humble and unknown Christian life is better than one full of nice treatment and a comfy professor job at whatever Christian university or seminary.

        Spurgeon expresses,

“I think that in my own soul that a believer in a prison reflects more glory on his Master than a believer in paradise, that a child of God in the burning, fiery furnace, whose hair is yet unscorched and upon whom the smell of the fire has not passed, displays more the glory of the Godhead than even he who stands with a crown upon his head, perpetually singing praises before the Father’s throne.”

It brings more glory to God to be suffering on earth in trials and be lowly than it does if you were in heaven singing before God praises. Part of why you are here on earth according to Spurgeon seems to express we must suffer and be lowly and give God glory on earth until the full measure of glory is received by God before you need to go to Heaven. I believe it also to be true that a lowly, unknown, unimpressive person who is a Christian gives God more glory than those seeking approval of academics who want to be popular authors, speakers, pastors, professors, and more. If one becomes such a popular teacher hopefully they are true to God’s Word and have come there because of God’s direction and calling out of “nothing” and not simply a selfish desire who works hard in order to get what they want, which is to say they want certifications, ranks, accolades, accommodations, affirmation, and other things that puff up pride and self righteousness. Some cases these types become the new pharisees of our day within the bounds of accepted theology. They can work theology or the bible to approve them.

* Note, I am not saying there should not be any popular Christian leaders. There are, and there should be, as long as they are true to God’s word and received their positions because they are full of Christ’s humility and honestly called from nothing to be int hat position, and do not give in to be approved by popular ideas not found in the Bible. Many leaders and historic preachers are only known or popular because of this. Whereas many also are self promoted and popularized by the world. 

God Bless The New Year 2015

God Bless The New Year 2015

        May God bless your new year and may you make it a year that honors God in your life. It is always going to be hard and the years we go through always seem long but persevere and allow God to pick you back up every time you fall. Have a great New Year 2015 to all the readers of Ehud’s 18 Inch Dagger!