Sunday, July 22, 2007

Decisions, Decisions, Decisions + Apologies, and more Decisions

[sub-labels: Being Christian, Christian and Catholic Faith, Love]

This post is more than three months too late. But the message, fortunately, is universal, in time, space, and culture. :-)


What about decisions and the need to repeat that word four times in the title of this post?

First, I had one friend confide in me. He basically was still being a friend and confidant to an ex-girlfriend, who dumped her for another man and who has now been ‘dumped’ by that other man. My friend said that it was difficult, that it was hurtful being a friend to his old flame who hurt him, and how he is still somehow wishing that they might still get back together or something like that. In our conversation, I think I brought up the word ‘decision.’

I think I asked him, why let yourself be hurt? Being the Christian that he is, he said he was just being a friend, a loving neighbor. And in this way, it was a self-sacrificing kind of love. He didn’t want to see his ex this way, hurt. I suggested, what if the more loving thing to do was to let her go completely, so that she might learn to let go herself, and that she might know although subtly that this situation was becoming hurtful also for him. Hopefully she may do something about it – something positive that is. And that’s when my friend said that that’s the problem, and that’s why he’s there – because she tends to go back to her old, not-so-good habits. By being there as a friend and a source of comfort, while it was hurting for him, that’s the bottomline, he was loving her. Maybe not in a romantic way – or maybe so, however you see it – but it was certainly in a Christian way. It was self-sacrificial.

To me, I told my friend that that is a noble decision. I couldn’t yet imagine myself in the same situation (cross the bridge if I get there). I think I’d let go, but I don’t really know. But the thing is, he made a decision, and I think either decision he made, it was a good decision. And for whatever he decides, it would be best if he gave his all into it. Of course, prayer is a very powerful factor in whichever decision was made. Also, depending on the outcome or the effect of his actions, he should be ready to change his decision. Again, with the help of prayer.

Second, I always recall Bo Sanchez’s “big decision,” which he wrote about in one of his books – I think it’s in “You Have the Power to Create Love.”

Almost his entire life until he was around or close to 30, he "knew" what he was going to do, and what he was going to be. He has been a preacher since the age of 12 (or is it 10?), and priesthood seemed to be the way to go. God certainly would want him to serve Him as a priest. And then he met this woman, for whom he had feelings that he kept to himself (or at least kept it from her)... Anyway, he went on a 7-day retreat, fasting, praying, and finally, deciding. Somehow he got God’s message that certainly, God wants all of us to be happy. Of course, this happiness we can find in following God’s will. But here was Bo, having to decide between two things – is one good and the other bad? No, he realized. You choose what would make you happy – except that for whichever you choose, the actions you take should be according to God’s will, and should continue to glorify his name. One of God's greatest gifts after all is our free will - to think and to make choices. Sometimes, it is between good and bad. Sometimes it is between two good things. (If it's between two bad things, better to choose none of the above.) Bo then, standing by the exit of the retreat house at the end of his 7 days there, called up Marowe and asked her to a date. They are happily married for years now, and have been blessed with two sons.

Isn’t that wrong? Bo was priest material, and there he was, defying what God might have wanted for him! But the thing is, it’s not all that God wants for him. He would certainly want that Bo serve him with joy. He gave him a choice. And sure, he’s not a priest right now. But he’s being an example father, husband, and still preacher to all of us. He still hasn’t forgotten any of the ministries he set up – the home for the abandoned elderly and children, his preaching ministries, his book writing, his online evanglization ministries, his many other publications. Now, he has a new ministry – his family, the very basic Christian church – to add to his list of ministries. I tell you, God loves Bo. God has given him free will to do what he wants, and he had two out of many possible paths to choose from that could make him happy and through either one, he still serves God. God gave us the same gifts as he did to Bo, and He could also bless us with the same good consequences depending on the decisions we make. Bo simply chose the one that would make him happier, but through either one, he makes sure he'll make God happy. I tell you, God loves you and me, too. The question is... What do we decide to do?

Third, the last two Sunday Gospel readings about the Good Samaritan, and Martha and Mary.
As I’ve mentioned, I’ve planned this post titled “decisions, decisions, decisions” about three months ago. And yet here are two Gospel readings from the past two Sundays whose message we could relate to my originally planned post.

Let’s go to number Four first and get back to these two Gospel readings later…

Fourth, there is the “Love your Neighbour” commandment. I think I’ve mentioned already in the previous post – there are two parts to this commandment. Fine we all might know already what the “Love” in “Love your neighbour” means, or at least where to find its meaning. And then fine, we know who our neighbour is. The question is, do we really? One of my discussion group participants on the topic of this commandment suggested that “neighbour” is anyone other than yourself. So that includes our enemies. That includes people from other religions. People from other races, ethnical backgrounds, nationalities, genders, etc. That includes friends and family, whether we like them or not. That includes friends and family, even though they may be in a path going farther from God.

Some of us might be one of those who grew up in societies that laugh at darker skinned people, skinnier people, "wider" people, people with uncommon physical deformations, people with curly hair, smaller eyes, hardworking people, smart people, lame or clumsy people, and so on. We grow these attitudes towards other people through our childhood although not by our own choice, and then carry them through adulthood. But of course, we do know better now, being the mature adults that we are now. In fact, we now can decide on how to react to our "neighbors," even if we've been "programmed" when we were younger to think that they're our inferior neighbors.

The keyword here is "decide." It's tough to fight emotions, I'm sure we all know that already. How many times have we erupted out of anger? or jealousy? or hunger? and so on. How many times have we done "crazy"/wrong things because we are "in love"? or too eager? or too anxious? But each time, we have a choice. We have to decide. Which do we choose? What do we choose to do? Making the decision to love, to be patient, etc. is a daily battle.

A good friend told me a quote from a book (I think from "Prozac Nation") - happiness is an ongoing battle. I can only agree. With love all around us, we can only be happy. And it is a daily battle. First, to see all this love and all the blessings that await us. And then there is the daily battle to decide to go left or right, or right or wrong, or to wait or to not wait and take action by ourselves leaving God out of the equation. And so on. We make decisions every second of our lives. We therefore have every second of our lives the opportunity to love. Let us decide to. It's a decision towards true happiness. It's a decision towards God.

Let's go back to the Gospels.

Imagine you are at work, and there are two new hires, and both of them are super annoying persons. Her fashion style is annoying. Her manner of speaking is annoying. A lot of other things about her is annoying. The same is true with the other new hire, this time a male.

Imagine if he was doing poorly at work, and you recall that it was because he graduated from some unknown school in the provinces, oh and all the things you could think up as to why this person was such comes to mind. Do you help him? Or do you let him stay where he's at, because he's not at the same level as you, in terms of contributing to the company you're working for?

Imagine if she was doing great at work. Better than your next-cubicle, long-time friend and officemate. Your long-time friend and officemate is easier to work with, and the two of you get things done. Here was this new girl, who was getting things done all by herself. What do you do? Try to make her get along with you? Get your superiors to take action, maybe fire her or send her a memo reprimanding her for her actions/inactions? Or do you try to change yourself? Can you recognize that she is contributing to the company in the way that she can, just as you and your long-time officemate are? And anyway, that's what employees are supposed to do? Do you feel insecure that she's doing better - she's contradicting the established "two heads are better than one" quote? Or can you see that by what she has brought to the company, you have seen that there are areas for improvement in your own (and maybe also your friend's) career? That you could be a better person, a better employee, a better child of God?

What would you do if you, a Christian, see a Moslem who has been beaten up by non-Moslems?

What would you do if, for example, Bo Sanchez is coming to your town for the first time to give a talk, but the only problem is your mom is in the hospital and needing attention and company? Will you be attending Bo's talk, maybe because you can learn how to pray better for your mother's healing? Or will you stay with your mother at the hospital and attend to her? Or, will you think of other ways you can both listen to Bo's talk, and yet make sure that your mother is taken care of and that you won't be gone too long from her?

Decisions, decisions, decisions, decisions. We make them everyday. Let's make the Good ones.


If you notice, I also put "Apologies" in the title of this post.

I apologize because (relating to the Fourth item above, about loving your neighbor) that I have not completely loved my neighbor, and thus if it is not a complete love, it was a failure to love.

In my earlier posts, I have somewhat, although perhaps indirectly only, "criticized" others' beliefs. I may justify that I am only responding to their critiques of my beliefs, but, I think I should instead focus less on (what I think is) the wrong of others, and focus instead on what I think is good and right. I think that is the most loving thing to do. That is what my Church and my God does also.

They clearly state what is good and what is not, but ultimately it is for us all to decide to accept them or not.

For example, showing "more skin" inside the Church during (Sunday) masses. The Catholic Church obviously is against that, it is a quite clear rule (and logical even, I don't think I need to be told once I think about it) , but still, Church doors are open to all.

So for now, I do hope that I make and follow through with that decision to focus more on our beliefs, on God and His great love for us, so that we too may focus less on the not-as-important things, but instead focus more on how we can love God and others.

May God be praised!

Sunday, July 1, 2007

[Movie Review] [Blog Review] Transformers (2007)

(This is a reaction to a critic of the movie at

I’m a Transformers fan, now in my 30s, and I liked this movie very much, because it is very 2007. And yeah, I’m just an ordinary guy who loves movies, like the rest of us, and I’m no movie/film critic like you are because to do that is difficult. I just give thumbs up or thumbs down or thumbs sideways to movies. I just either say, “I like the movie,” or “I don’t like the movie,” or “it’s an ‘okay’ movie.”

This is now one of my (personal) favorite movies. But I’d have to watch it again (on the boob-tube), because the original Transformers The Movie of the 80’s doesn’t feel as high-impact as when I first saw it. Maybe because it’s the 21st century now.

From your previous posts, it seems that you dislike Hollywood and its creations. I think one thing (not the only thing) that Hollywood is about is business and making money by providing entertainment, and here they are with a movie that will enable them to do just that. In that sense, they are going to achieve their goal and are thus successful with this movie, and kudos to that. I think it is unfair to look at all Hollywood films with the same eyes we use to look at an art film or paintings and so on at an art gallery. We’re free to do that, but I just personally think it’s not fair.

I also noticed the product placements and I see (and have read) that this is the future (read: 2007 and beyond) of advertising. I don’t see nothing wrong with that.

I did not notice how much more of the humans were shown, more than the Transformers. But I personally don’t find anything wrong with that. That’s what they wanted, they (the producers) risked money to do that, and again we’ll see if it was worth the risk - which will be determined by the “vote” of the millions who will watch the movie and buy the DVD in the future. Plus, I think it’s also a ploy to make us want to see more of the Transformers - and it seems it’s working - and they already actually have plans for a sequel.

Optimus Prime getting robbed? Again, I don’t see nothing wrong with that. I think Optimus Prime beating up Megatron and sacrificing his life to save mankind - that’s so Transformers cliche and I think that’s what we all expected. So Sam “saving” Prime and the world was a twist, and perhaps, the twist of this 2007 movie. Was that insulting to Cybertronians? Well, I wish I could actually read minds of Cybertronians, but I can’t.

My concern right after the movie was - because I so want to see a sequel - is… what is going to be the story in the sequel? And who’s going to be there? Is it going to be as interesting as this one? When is it going to come out!?? It ought to be better, of course, because it’s the second one. Actually, I want them to create a series! But, that shall be their decision. Maybe if I had money, I can tell them what to do and not to do.

By the way, what Hollywood-produced live-action movie of comics or cartoon origins has been faithful to their original comics or cartoon characters or stories? I’m not good with movie trivia, but right now, I don’t remember any.

My overall thoughts on your comments: Welcome to 2007.

Oh, and I congratulate you, because your post is so controversial - that’s how to make money on the web with blogs. I wonder now if that was partially your intention? If so, congratulations! I honestly dream of writing my own controversial blog post in the future myself. :D

[sub-labels: CPC blogs, CPC movies]