Showing posts from October, 2017

Celebrating the 500th year of the Reformation

Five hundred years ago, on October 31, 1517, it's said that Martin Luther posted his 95 theses in protest against the doctrines and practices of the ruling Roman Catholic Church. This ushered the momentous event in world history known as the Protestant Reformation, a movement that led Christendom back to its roots, to the purest form of God's message of salvation: grace alone through faith alone. This movement changed the world. Along the way, it introduced intellectual and spiritual giants—Martin Luther and John Calvin, among them, who were persecuted for standing up to Rome. The printing press was born as an inevitability and necessity. The renewed understanding of God's sovereign and unmerited grace was due, in part, to the distribution of Bible translations in the people's lingua franca. For the first time ordinary folk, who likely did not understand Latin, could read and understand God's Word for themselves. With their eyes opened, the Gospel freed them from th


Paris, France (April 2017) I woke up to cloudy, after-rain weather, a welcome treat for someone like me who doesn't like the sun a lot. I've lived in the tropics all my life; moments like these break the monotony of humidity and warmth. In order to complete the picture-perfect moment, I should've had a warm cup of freshly brewed tea, a good book, windows open to let the fresh breeze in, and the joyful kind of solitude; but the truth is that I dozed off after a day at work without an after-thought, my nap dreamless, only to be awakened by the sound of my brother's utensils as he made dinner--a healthy broth of fish and vegetables. There's a tinge of selfishness in my indifference, sometimes indignation, at knowing about the minutiae of people's lives--the strongest argument supporting my avoidance of Facebook--but here I am, writing about mine.

Read, listened to, and watched

Inspired by Jason Kottke , here's a quick review of the things I've read, listened to, or watched for the past few weeks. Good Witch . A small-town drama where love and truth always triumph and people are nice to each other. It's also perpetually cold. Best feel-good series I've watched in years. (A) Doctor Who, Season 5, Episodes 1 and 2 . Hilarious. Scenes of the English countryside fascinate me all the time. (B+) Madam Secretary Seasons 2 and 3. My dose of some White House action. (A) World War Z: An Oral History of the Zombie War by Tom Brooks. Ambitious, but the tone was inconsistently off. (B-) The War Against Pope Francis . So many controversies in the Catholic Church. (B+) The Foreigner. I'm a Jackie Chan fan, though nothing much happens here. Pierce Brosnan with the Irish accent was a surprise. (B) Fargo, Season 2 . The Kansas City Mob! Clever, ambitious. The series made me crave for coffee. I recommended this to my roommate T

Popular Bookstore

New haunt: Popular Bookstore along Tomas Morato. Too bad it closes at 6 PM. Great book selection, featuring Filipino publications. Got myself a copy of Jose Garcia Villa's short story collection (Ateneo de Manila University Press).

Soul comforts

I CAN'T overestimate the encouragement I've derived from listening to good music. Nothing quite comforts the soul than song. This one is Compassion Hymn by Keith and Kristyn Getty , among my favorite Christian songwriters. Through this I'm reminded to "show to the world [God's] compassion," especially as a physician—this, even during hard times. There is an everlasting kindness You lavished on us When the Radiance of heaven Came to rescue the lost; You called the sheep without a shepherd To leave their distress For your streams of forgiveness And the shade of Your rest. And with compassion for the hurting, You reached out Your hand As the lame ran to meet You And the dead breathed again; You saw behind the eyes of sorrow And shared in our tears, Heard the sigh of the weary, Let the children draw near. CHORUS What boundless love, What fathomless grace You have shown us, O God of compassion! Each day we live An offering of praise As we

Mistrust without a cause

Expounding on 1 Samuel 27:1 [1], CH Spurgeon wrote: He [David] should have argued from what God had done for him, that God would be his defender still. But is it not the same way that we doubt God’s help? Is it not mistrust without a cause ? Have we ever had the shadow of a reason to doubt our Father’s goodness? Have not his lovingkindnesses been marvelous? Has he once failed to justify our trust? Ah, no! Our God has not left us at any time. We have had dark nights, but the star of love has shown forth amid the blackness; we have been in stern conflicts, but over our head he has held aloft the shield of our defence. While my coffee was brewing this morning I took on the mindset of a skeptic and squeezed my memory for episodes of God's failing me, as Spurgeon so challenged. I did my best. Was there, in fact, any instance, when God had left me on my own, when He had left me fend for myself, when He failed to be my rock, my fortress, my deliverer, just as He had promised? The a

Quiet and windless

I spent my weekend in Cabangan, Zambales with my IM family. After a brief medical mission at San Ildefonso, Bulacan; we took a five-hour drive to Zambales, a place we picked because we had wanted a taste of the beach. In our van were the Mondragons: Sir Alric and Karen and their daughter Monay (Alessandra to most, but she'll always be Monay to her Uncle Lance) were seated in the middle row. The little lady hardly cried during the trip. Her default reaction was a smile. She didn't mind being tossed around, carried by her childless titos and titas, all of them entertained by her calm, quiet composure. We arrived in Cabangan at dinner time. Everything was pitch dark. Bea asked where the beach was. "There," someone must've mentioned to her, pointing to the wide expanse of emptiness. Then we could  hear it—the steady hush of the waves. It was a quiet, windless evening away from the metro. Psalm 8:4 came to mind, "What is man that you are mindful of him, and th



Productivity, Statistics and Lit, Essays

At any given time I read three or four books at a time. I get bored quite easily. Maybe that's just me. I say "bored" here not as a negative connotation but as way to express that some works need some to be read for prolonged periods, with intermittent moments of rest in the interim. To help me get past lengthy, revered works of fiction, I read collection of short stories, non-fiction, or short contemporary novels. Too much Cormac McCarthy makes me suicidal and despairing; too much Mindy Kaling turns me light-headed. A change of view increases my appreciation for each book I read. Multiplicity does not diminish the delight. Last week I finished three books, all read in my Kindle (which I've named John Ames , because the device, in fact, asks the owner to give it a name). I enjoyed the books thoroughly. I recommend them to you, if you have time to spare. (You have time to spare. What's your excuse? Teddy Roosevelt finished Anna Karenina while chasing thieves