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Tuesday, August 26, 2008


26 August 1901. The American Standard Version (ASV) begins to be sold in the market. More info in Jack P. Lewis' The English Bible from KJV to NIV: A History and Evaluation. Grand Rapids: Baker Book House, 1981), 72. Click here for an analysis of Bible translations online.

Monday, August 25, 2008


Terrorism and martyrdom,

affluence and poverty,

heresy and orthodoxy,

wisdom and stupidity,

vice and virtue

-- like beauty --

are in the beholder's eye,

and in the speaker's tongue.

For texts paginate sight

and contexts color vision;

discourses inform utterance,

and clubs set taste.

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Time to Listen

For preachers and Bible teachers intending to develop their sermon outline and/or lesson plan based on the "Parable of the Sower" (Matthew 13.3-23; cf. Mark 4.3-20; Luke 8.4-15), let me suggest this four-fold division:

1. The 1-Second Hearer (Mat 13. 4, 19)

2. The 1-Minute Hearer (Mat 13. 5-6, 20-21)

3. The 1-Hour Hearer (Mat 13. 7, 22)

4. The 24-hour Hearer/Listener (Mat 13. 8-9, 23)

Friday, August 22, 2008

WCC 1st Assembly

August 22-September 3, 1948. 351 participants representing 147 churches in 44 countries meet in Amsterdam, Holland for the first gathering of the World Council of Churches.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008


21 August 1983. Benigno "Ninoy" S. Aquino, Jr. is assassinated upon the orders of the late dictator Ferdinand Marcos, triggering a national outrage that exploded into the 1986 People Power Revolution thus ending the autocratic regime of Marcos. Republic Act 9256 subsequently declared August 21 as "Ninoy Aquino Day. Former Senate President Jovito Salonga once called him "The Greatest President we never had."

Recommended posts/online articles: "How We Killed Ninoy," "Who Killed Ninoy?"

Video file on his last interview here.

ninoy1.jpgOurs is to keep lighting the beacon light of freedom for those who have lost their way…Ours is to articulate the fervent hopes of a people who have suddenly lost their voices…Ours is to adopt the solid stance of courage in the face of seemingly hopeless odds so that hope, no matter how dim or distant, will never vanish from sight.”

- Benigno Aquino, Jr., quoted in Ben Cal, FVR Through the Years (Quezon City: PACER, 1997), p. 39.


It is said that while in detention, Ninoy came across Charles Wendel Colson's Born Again, a book that reportedly led to his spiritual renewal. I find it intriguing that both of these men found a deeper meaning of faith inside a prison. I can imagine Ninoy being struck first by this Nixon ex-henchman's political life and then by his religious experience.

Were Ninoy alive today, I'm sure he would have devoured other Colson classics, like How Now Shall We Live?, Kingdoms in Conflict & Loving God.*

*Colson, Charles and Nancy Pearcey. How Now Shall We Live? Wheaton, IL: Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., 1999; Colson Charles. Kingdoms in Conflict. New York: Harper Paperbacks, 1987; Colson, Charles. Loving God: An Inspiring Message and a Challenge to All Christians. Grand Rapids, MI: ZondervanPublishing House, 1996.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Lubuagan Centennial

18 August 2008. The municipality of Lubuagan, Kalinga Province, celebrates its 100 years as a municipal unit in a three-day festival dubbed as Lumin-awa (lit., "to be of sound physical and/or spiritual state"). It will be recalled that in 1908 today, Act 1870 of the Philippine Commission carved the old Mountain Province out of northern Luzon with the following sub-provinces: Benguet, Ifugao, Bontoc, Kalinga and Apayao as sub-provinces. Kalinga was split into five municipal units -- Balbalan, Liwan, Lubuagan, Pinukpuk, and Tinglayan [see history of Kalinga here].

Walter "Sapao" Hale was made the first lieutenant governor of Kalinga as part of the "pacification campaign" of the colonial regime. He initially established his headquarters in Tabuk, but was later forced to move his seat of government to Lubuagan as malaria in the Tabuk valley threatened to decimate his party.

Emilio Aguinaldo, president of the first Philippine Republic, also briefly made this municipality his seat of government after the death of Gen. Gregorio del Pilar, the hero of Tirad Pass (the "Thermopylae of the Philippines").

Related Article: The Aguinaldo Centennial March

UPB's "Cordillera Literary Competition"

The University of the Philippines Baguio (UPB), in partnership with the National Commission on Culture and Arts (NCCA), launched early this month a Cordillera-wide literary competition believed to be the first of its kind in the region's literary history as entries are to be written in either of the following Cordilleran languages: Ibaloi, Kankanaey, Bontoc, Ifugao, and Kalinga.

Dr. Elizabeth Calinawagan, Dean of the University's College of Arts and Communication (CAC) and organizer of the event, noted that previous regionwide literary contests had largely privileged English over the indigenous languages. Calling for the need to continue enshrining Cordilleran languages in the academe, she explained that the competition is part of UPB's commitment to the preservation and enrichment of the various shades of Cordilleran language and culture. She added that it is also in line with the UP System's Centennial Celebration, as well as with UNESCO's declaration of 2008 as the "International Year of Languages." UP Baguio considers Cordillera Studies as one of its "niches."

Not everybody can participate in the poetry and short story writing contest, however. Only those from 18-30 years old may join. Other requirements are as follows:

1. Entries must be originally composed in any of the languages noted above.

2. Works already published in any regional or national publication and/or awarded in other contests cannot qualify for the competition.

3. Entries in poetry must be composed of two to three poems, and not to exceed five pages in its entirety.

4. Entries in the short story should be not less than five nor more than 10 pages.

5. Only 1 entry per category will be accepted.

Deadline of submission is on 31 October 2008.

Aside from receiving cash prizes, winners will be privileged to be part of an NCCA writers' workshop early next year.

Interested? Get in touch with Junley Lazaga of UPB-CAC -- email:; telefax: (074) 444-8393.

Gift Undeserved

Religious faith -- for all its problems, despite its maddening tendency to replicate ungrace -- lives on because we sense the numinous beauty of a gift undeserved that comes at unexpected moments from Outside.  Refusing to believe that our lives of guilt and shame lead to nothing but annihilation, we hope against hope for another place run by different rules.  We grow up hungry for love, and in ways so deep as to remain unexpressed we long for our Maker to love us.

- Philip Yancey, What's So Amazing About Grace? (Grand Rapids, MI: ZondervanPublishingHouse, 1997), 40-41.

BS Chart # 3

Toward the end of my stay with the (Stone-Campbell) Church of Christ , I became increasingly uncomfortable with many of the Bible Study materials every CoC preacher was expected to use in his evangelistic work. Among these were charts illustrating "The Marks of the One, True Church" which included items like:

Founder: Jesus Christ

Dated Founded: A.D. 33

Place Founded: Jerusalem

Organization: Jesus (Chief Shepherd), Elders/Pastors/Bishops, Preachers/Evangelists/Ministers, Members

Authority: Jesus/Bible (New Testament)

The more I used the charts, the more I became less convinced of the assumptions underlying or enveloping them and of their effectiveness as pedagogical/teaching instruments. My readings of the socio-cultural milieu within which the Stone-Campbell Movement was hatched challenged our assertion that we were the AD 33 Church and that our doctrines were simply drawn out of the Scriptures without using the highly suspect hermeneutic or interpretive tools of denominationalism. My reflections on the so-called "Seed Principle" (i.e., if we only follow the New Testament, we will reproduce the New Testament Church in our time as it was) questioned our selective choosing of which features of the primitive church were to be restored. My awareness of the existence of many congregations in our fellowship which could not even successfully and consistently set up a supposedly distinguishing mark of the "Restored" church -- the plurality of eldership, primarily -- blasted me for my hypocrisy in attacking other churches for, say, their "one-man pastor system" while glossing over the fact that most of our local "Ministers" have been ruling their respective congregations for decades in the same way as these demonized "denominational pastors" had done. My realization that I was largely focused on the externals of our faith (i.e., the right collective and individual appellations/names, the right organizational structure, the right procedure in baptismal and communion rites, etc.) drove me to pursue what I believed was a more substantive method of discussing the nature of the Christian church a result of which is the chart below.

Again, I do not offer this diagram as a perfect teaching tool. Those who can find use for it can always revise it.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Changing Light Bulbs the Christian Way

From my inbox:


How many Christians does it take to change a light bulb?

Charismatic : Only 1 - Hands are already in the air.

: 10 - One to change the bulb, and nine to pray against the spirit of darkness.

: None - Lights will go on and off at predestined times.

Roman Catholic
: None - Candles only.

: At least 15 - One to change the light bulb, and three committees to approve the change and decide who brings the potato salad and fried chicken.

Episcopalians : 3 - One to call the electrician, one to mix the drinks and one to talk about how much better the old one was.

Mormons : 5 - One man to change the bulb, and four wives to tell him how to do it.

: - We choose not to make a statement either in favor of or against the need for a light bulb. However, if in your own journey you have found that light bulbs work for you, you are invited to write a poem or compose a modern dance about your light bulb for the next Sunday service, in which we will explore a number of light bulb traditions, including incandescent, fluorescent, 3-way, long-life and tinted, all of which are equally valid paths to luminescence.

Methodists : Undetermined - Whether your light is bright, dull, or completely out, you are loved. You can be a light bulb, turnip bulb, or tulip bulb. Bring a bulb of your choice to the Sunday lighting service and a covered dish to pass.

Nazarene : 6 - One woman to replace the bulb while five men review church lighting policy.

Lutherans : None - Lutherans don't believe in change.

: What's a light bulb?


Funny? Frivolous? Whimsical? Offensive? Sacrilegious? Blasphemous?

Whatever you think of these, I think you will have to agree that these lines should set the contending faiths in Christianity to a reflective mode and force them to assess what kind of reputation they have in the respective communities they belong to, what their distinctives have to do with the core of the Christian faith, how relevant are the issues they battle over to the daily concerns of their members, who really wins or loses at the end of their intramural fightings, how far they have strayed from the path to intellectual integrity in their desire to follow their vaunted religious authorities, or what needs to be reformed in their own ecclesiastical systems...

At the risk of getting the ire of the concerned church groups, I'd like to add the following to the list:

Church of Christ: Wait... Got a book, chapter and verse for a lightbulb?

Iglesia Ni Cristo: Depends on what the Executive Minister says.

Jehovah’s Witnesses: Why bother? Armageddon’s fiery ball is now poised to strike the earth!

Kingdom of Jesus Christ Name Above Every Name (Quibolloy): You gotta talk to THE Son first.

On Diet?

Another intriguing stuff in my mail. What say you health buffs and med people? :)



Q: I've heard that cardiovascular exercise can prolong life; is this true?
A: Your heart is only good for so many beats, and that's it... don't waste them on exercise. Everything wears out eventually. Speeding up your heart will not make you live longer; that's like saying you can extend the life of your car by driving it faster. Want to live longer? Take a nap.

Q: Should I cut down on meat and eat more fruits and vegetables?
A: You must grasp logistical efficiencies. What does a cow eat? Hay and corn. And what are these? Vegetables. So a steak is nothing more than an efficient mechanism of delivering vegetables to your system. Need grain? Eat chicken. Beef is also a good source of field grass (green leafy vegetable). And a pork chop can give you 100% of your recommended daily allowance of vegetable products.

Q: Should I reduce my alcohol intake?
A: No, not at all. Wine is made from fruit. Brandy is distilled wine, that means they take the water out of the fruity bit so you get even more of the goodness that way. Beer is also made out of grain. Bottoms up!

Q: How can I calculate my body/fat ratio?
A: Well, if you have a body and you have fat, your ratio is one to one. If you have two bodies, your ratio is two to one, etc.

Q: What are some of the advantages of participating in a regular exercise program?
A: Can't think of a single one, sorry. My philosophy is: No Pain...Good!

Q: Aren't fried foods bad for you?
A: YOU'RE NOT LISTENING!!! .... Foods are fried these days in vegetable oil. In fact, they're permeated in it. How could getting more vegetables be bad for you?

Q: Will sit-ups help prevent me from getting a little soft around the middle?
A: Definitely not! When you exercise a muscle, it gets bigger. You should only be doing sit-ups if you want a bigger stomach.

Q: Is chocolate bad for me?
A: Are you crazy? HELLO Cocoa beans! Another vegetable!!! It's the best feel-good food around!

Q: Is swimming good for your figure?
A: If swimming is good for your figure, explain whales to me.

Q: Is getting in-shape important for my lifestyle?
A: Hey! 'Round' is a shape!

Well, I hope this has cleared up any misconceptions you may have had about food and diets.

And remember:

'Life should NOT be a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in an attractive and well preserved body, but rather to skid in sideways - Chardonnay in one hand - chocolate in the other - body thoroughly used up, totally worn out and screaming 'WOO HOO, What a Ride'


For those of you who watch what you eat, here's the final word on nutrition and health. It's a relief to know the truth after all those conflicting nutritional studies.

1. The Japanese eat very little fat and suffer fewer heart attacks than Americans.
2. The Mexicans eat a lot of fat and suffer fewer heart attacks than Americans.
3. The Chinese drink very little red wine and suffer fewer heart attacks than Americans.
4. The Italians drink a lot of red wine and suffer fewer heart attacks than Americans.
5. The Germans drink a lot of beers and eat lots of sausages and fats and suffer fewer heart attacks than Americans.


Eat and drink what you like. Speaking English is apparently what kills you.

Monday, August 11, 2008

Why God Died

God died because people forgot how to read.  With a sharp irony, the Bible was pinched between two forgettings.  From one side the Bible was -- and is in many quarters today -- treated as so sacred as to be dictated word for word by God so that the Bible is totally unlike anything else we read.  From the other side, the Bible was -- and is in many quarters today -- subjected to heavy interpretive equipment, and like other writing the Bible gets shielded from the clear light of that original and most wonderful of a child's requests, "Read me a story."  When the life is squeezed out of the Bible, from whatever direction, when the Bible is exiled from "the space between" into the extremes of "we know all about it" or "this can never be," the living God can no longer be found there.

- Patrick Henry, The Ironic Christian's Companion: Finding the Marks of God's Grace in the World (New York: Riverhead Books, 1999), p. 70.

Sunday, August 3, 2008

Scam: "Mastercard UEFA Champions League Lottery"

Note: See post on the legit UEFA Champions Lottery @



The Local Organizing Committee of the MasterCard sponsors and the European Champions League is glad to announce to the world the giving away of the sum of THREE  HUNDRED MILLION POUNDS to 100 lucky email addresses all over the world.

This promotion is in Appreciation of our International Support for the past Football Events and the correspondent earnings at the stock market which was far beyond our projected quarterly earnings.

Be informed that all winners in this program have been selected randomly through a computer ballot system drawn from over 1,500,000  companies and individual e-mail addresses database. Your email address happened to be one of the lucky winners of THREE MILLION POUNDS among the One Hundred email addresses chosen. In order to claim your prize, you will have to fill out the form below and send it back to us for verification and then you will be informed on how to make claims of your Bankers Check for the sum which has already been deposited along with your email contact. It is mandatory you take note that your email address was attached to Serial Number: 889-207 and Batch Number: EU-155DB11-003/LL.




Please you are advised to complete the form and send back to us for prompt collection. You are automatically disqualified if you are below 17 years of age. This E-mail message (including attachments, if any) is intended for the use of the individual or entity to which it is addressed and may contain Information that is privileged, proprietary, confidential and exempted from disclosure. If you are not the intended recipient, you are notified that any dissemination, distribution or copying of this communication is strictly prohibited.

Congratulations once again and you are advised to send reply to your claims officer for you to be accredited for payment:



Etheridge Knight.

BS Chart #1

Several preacher-friends in the Church of Christ have asked for copies of the Bible Study charts I had developed and used when I was still preaching for this fellowship. Starting with this post, I shall be sharing some of these materials to these friends and to others who might find these visual aids useful in their evangelistic work. This and the other soon-to-be posted charts are imperfect especially that they may bear marks of a Restorationist/Patternist/Amillenial tradition (see the three-fold dispensation under "Fast Facts," for example), so I encourage the users to revise these to suit the needs of their hearers/audience.

Saturday, August 2, 2008

Bible Readers as Interpreters

...whether one likes it or not, every reader is at the same time an interpreter. That is, most of us assume as we read that we also understand what we read. We also tend to think that our understanding is the same thing as the Holy Spirit's or human author's intent. However, we invariably bring to the text all that we are, with all our experiences, culture, and prior understandings of words and ideas. Sometimes what we bring to the text, unintentionally to be sure, leads us astray, or else causes us to read all kinds of foreign ideas into the text.

- Gordon D. Fee & Douglas Stuart, How to Read the Bible for All Its Worth, 3rd ed. (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 2003; reprint, Manila: OMF Literature, Inc., 2007),18.

Friday, August 1, 2008

Iglesia Filipina Independiente

03 August 1902. The Iglesia Filipina Independiente (Philippine Independent Church) is born through the proclamation of the General Council of the Union Obrera Democratica with the revolutionary-priest Gregorio Aglipay as "Supreme Bishop." The Council was led by Isabelo de los Reyes, the acknowledged originator of the Philippine Labor Movement. The move was the culmination of the Filipino clergy's long struggle against Spanish 'frailocracy' and, although the IFI would retain much of the ecclesiastical trappings of the Catholic Church, remains a highly significant reference point in the continuing drive among Filipino Christians for theological contextualization. With more than two million members, the IFI is reportedly the "third largest Christian denomination" in the Philippines, next to the Roman Catholic Church and the homegrown Iglesia Ni Cristo.