Saddened by the America religion survey

Just in from the New York Times:

More than a quarter of adult Americans have left the faith of their childhood to join another religion or no religion, according to a new survey of religious affiliation by the Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life.

Also from AFP (as reported by Inquirer.net):

Protestants are on the verge of becoming a minority in the United States, a country they helped to found, as people change affiliation and immigration reshapes the religious "marketplace", a ground-breaking study showed Monday.



I wonder how the study was conducted. For one, it's hard to give an exact number of who the genuine Christians are. By that, I mean those who have trusted in the Lord for their salvation and who have received eternal life because of their faith in Him alone.

If the researchers merely based religion on the profession of a respondent, I can't blame them: it's the most practical thing to do. But there's the danger of including non-Christians in the Christian list. And same goes with other religions as well.

But regardless of the method of information gathering, the sad result should not suprise us. This is a fallen world, and people turn away from God. They are dead to sin and are imperceptive to the things of God. They treasure broken cisterns over the Fountain of living water.

We must pray that the Lord change their hardened hearts and bring them to His fold where true, everlasting joy can be found.

Sa tapat ng Pinoy BIg Brother House

Pumunta ako sa Pinoy Big Brother House kaninang umaga. May dokyu kasing ginagawa 'yung grupo ko para sa PanPil 12. Hindi siya mukhang bahay, at maliit lang. Hindi ko inakalang ganun na 'yun. Bakit ganun 'no, mas lumalaki ang mga bagay-bagay 'pag nasa TV? Naku, isang malaking problema. Kung ma-TV man ako, mas lalaki pa ang butas ng ilong ko.

Katipunan rallies

As I passed by Katipunan yesterday, I saw students from Miriam and Ateneo rallying in front of their schools. Their protest didn't exactly cause a traffic jam, but my friends and I saw that cars had a hard time getting through the immense vehicular density. It was nothing like any UP rally, I tell you. The banners were printed in tarpaulin. No angry shouting (at least from where I was). No burning of effigies. No red streamers. However, there was the simple plea to uphold the truth, and that, to me, made the event worthwhile.

The cars blew their horns in affirmation as they passed by (or through), especially when the drivers saw banners pledging support for NBN-ZTE Deal star witness Jun Lozada.

It wasn't anger; it was joyful hope that I saw in their faces. But why are they so happy? Maybe they believe that someday, the truth will be unmeshed, the liars will be exposed, and the guilty will be punished.

The high people in Malacanang must be getting very worried.


MBB Batch 2009 fully supports Carmela "Melay" San Luis in her bid to become this year's College of Science Idol! (Photo from Hazel)



UPDATE: I didn't get to watch Melay. My bad. She placed fourth. My friends told me she gave a spirited performance, which, when you think of it, is an achievement in itself. If you read this (I highly doubt that: Melay gets hypnotized in front of the computer screen), Congrats Mel!

Peacemaker

In Higher Rock yesterday, Dr. Jim Newheiser, co-writer of the book When Good Kids Make Bad Choices, spoke on "The Peacemaker: How To Pursue Peace." After lunch, he talked on the insights he learned when he surveyed the book of Proverbs. He compiled these into a book that's going to be released in the country soon.

The outline given is too long for a blog entry, so let me write the main points:

God tells you how to make peace.

You cannot completely avoid conflict (Romans 12:48). All conflict is the result of sin. Peace is sometimes out of your reach. Conflict is very dangerous. Conflict brings opportunity to glorify God, to be more like Christ, to serve others, and to bear witness to a watching world.

Do all that's in your power to pursue peace (Matthew 5:9; Hebrews 12:14).

Be ready to forgive others as God has forgiven you (Psalm 86:5).

Use the PAUSE principle in negotiating/peacemaking:

Prepare for peacemaking (1 Corinthians 4:13)
Affirm relationships (1 Corinthians 13:7)
Understand the interests of others: listen! (Philippians 2:3-4)
Search for creative solutions (Daniel 1)
Evaluate options objectively and reasonably.

We're also called to promote peace by confronting sin biblically.

Pastor Jim gave true-to-live illustrations in his talk. He's been to Baguio, Cebu, and Davao CCM (Communion of Christian Ministries) churches for the past few days. His schedule has been pretty tight. But praise be to God for sustaining him throughout his ministry here. He's speaking to Higher Rock's anniversary today, and he's flying back to America on Tuesday.

As for all of us, it was a feast for the soul; God's Word always is.

Big deal

api vaLentines day! was the text message that jolted me out of my sleep this morning.

In class, my classmate Boom wore a shirt (or a dress—I don’t know) printed with hearts all over. I told her she was oozing with the Valentine Fever. To this she laughed, like she always does. I said, “I have a feeling that if, today, you had a chicken pox, the spots on your skin would look like hearts.” She laughed. Heartily.

My lady friends were complaining they didn’t have dates for the day. I wondered why they were making a big fuss about it.

I heard the term, Single Awareness Day, mentioned a million times. Sure, I’m single, but do I have to celebrate the day when my awareness of that otherwise trivial fact becomes so great I am no longer thinking of other things but that?

In this week’s issue of the Collegian, a love poem was published that was supposedly addressed to some Richmond G. I have a friend named Richmond Goce. Harrassed, he insisted it wasn’t for him but for someone else. A Richmond Garci, perhaps?

The traffic at North Avenue was terrible when Es, JP, Shean, and I went to Trinoma for dinner. The restaurants were packed. I saw a gazillion people holding hands while walking. I felt like melted cheese on a pizza—which was what we ate. I was surprised the pizza wasn’t shaped like a heart.

Until today, I didn’t realize that people actually make a big deal out of Valentine’s. But if they really want to show their undying love that transcends universes, why not show it everyday?

Kuya Dave turns 70; Jason turns 20

Kuya Dave turns 70 and Jason turns 20 today. I praise God for having met these men, whose lives have been changed by their faith in Christ. Both of them shared their testimony in YCF. Kuya Dave narrated how he received Christ through a time-line: from his birth in 1938, to the time he first had a taste of Coke when the American soldiers brought them in the shores of the Wales. Jason told us how he used to fear death, and how he found eternal security in Christ.

As promised, here are some of the pictures included in YCF's tribute to Kuya Dave: a classic picture frame containing, what else, but pictures. You seriously didn't think there was something else in it, did you?

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Kuya Dave hugs Ate June during last year's Wedding Banquet

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YCF some two years ago.

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Some of my closest friends in the fellowship. With Kuya Dave, of course.

Call it the Fair

My blockmates, being party animals that they are, have been urging everyone to go to the UP fair tomorrow. Call me un-cool, but I've never been to one.

The Fair, for all it's worth, just never appealed to me. I have nothing against it, but I'd rather stay home, lie cozily in bed with all the lights turned off but my reading lamp, a drink of hot chocolate by my sidetable, and an old, good-smelling book on my hands.

My sked's also tight tomorrow night. It's Kuya Dave and Jason's birthday, both of whom I love in Christ, and some YCF alumni will be coming over for tomorrow's fellowship.

But we'll see. Who knows? I might just see the Jumping Jologs for real.

The stink is out

There's ample reason to believe Rodolfo Noel Lozada, Jr. I quite agree with the Inquirer editorial: What does a man like Lozada, who is not independently wealthy, who holds no political power, stand to gain from taking on Malacañang?

Lozada's testimony reaffirms our notion of corruption in government. He gave it flesh for all to see.

The good thing is, now that the stink is out, it's easier to find where the rotten fish is.

De Venecia is out

I'm daily exposed to Philippine politics, but I still don't get it. Today, the House of Representatives effectively ousted Speaker Jose De Venecia from his post, a position he has held for 15 years. De Venecia, of course, is that man with the the funny eyebrows who always stood by President Arroyo during, well, her entire political career, as far as I can remember. Before the votes were cast, I heard him rattle accusations against Arroyo in a very emphatic voice: a combination of grief at his impending ouster and of anger, the angriest I've seen him to date. He decried corruption in government and practically declared war against the President.

Call me nuts, but I've always thought Arroyo and De Venecia made a rather sweet, chummy-chummy pair. Too bad they're both too ambitious for their own good.

Plane

Felix, my roommate, dreamt of me last night:

We were boarding the plane separately—he on the front and I on the back door, nearer the tail of the plane. For some reason, we were asked to leave. So off we went to the complaints desk. Upon entering, I showed my ID. Wasn’t needed, the security personnel said, but I kept insisting on it—in English. I was furious. Look at my ID!

Of all dreams, why that? No idea. But truth be told, I wouldn’t do that in real life at all.

Felix was grinning when he woke up.