Thursday, May 31, 2012

Don't know Jesus? Sorry, but you're going to Hell? --Part 1

Hello my dear reader.

Every so often around campus there will be students from many campus ministries asking the following question: "Are you going to Heaven?" Sometimes people ask me: "are you saved"? During these chats about 'heaven' and being "saved", at some point the subject of 'hell' is discussed. I bring this up because I just read a response by pastor/theologian John Piper to a letter by a 12-year-old girl about what happens to people who live far away from the gospel and have never heard about Jesus and die without faith in him. Piper responds:
I don't think the Bible teaches that people can be saved without hearing the gospel. Look at what Paul says in Romans 10:13–17. You need to hear the gospel to be saved.

(Here is the article with Piper's response)

What do you think?
Do you agree/disagree?

I would like to hear from you my dear reader about this.
Let me know :)


Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Happy are those who find wisdom...

Happy are those who find wisdom,

and those who get understanding,
for her income is better than silver,
and her revenue better than gold.
She is more precious than jewels,
and nothing you desire can compare with her.

(Proverbs 3:13-15)

Thursday, May 24, 2012

As a Christian I object to the "Faith West" project in West Lafayette

Hello my dear reader.

As some of you know the city of West Lafayette is considering a proposal by Faith Church to get a 30-year low interest rate bond to help fund the "Faith West" project. According to Faith Church for more than 20 years, Faith has sponsored an on-campus student group named Purdue Bible Fellowship (PBF). Purdue University recognizes PBF as an official student organization. The purpose of PBF is to provide faith-based fellowship and resources to the students, faculty, and staff of Purdue. For two years Faith has been working to locate the best possible home for PBF. After extensive discussions, it was determined that the proposed 6.4 acre site on Northwestern Avenue was the ideal location. We believe this project can meet the unique needs of the Purdue family and advance the cause of Jesus Christ through PBF and our biblical counseling ministry.

As a Christian and local resident I object this proposal. I am concerned that the city of West Lafayette is being used as a conduit to lead to the construction of an installation that will support the Purdue Bible Fellowship and other religious activities in the Purdue area. Before you think that I am against churches, campus ministries, or other religious organizations let me explain.

Many of you know me personally and know the following about me: I love campus ministry!
As a campus ministry intern I am proud and happy of the work I do every day. I have been blessed with a great opportunity to not only continue doing what I believe will be part of my future but that also allows me to work for the community.

If Faith Church wants to use their own funds (they already raised 3 millions dollars from their own donations) to build an installation to support their campus ministry and religious activities I cannot object. But I must object to Faith Church using the city as a conduit to get the up to 7 million dollars (covered by the bonds) for this. However, if a religious institution like Faith Church wants to use the city to get bonds to build something like a senior citizens home (similar to how Westminster Village was built with the support of the Presbyterian Church but now is fully private) I would not object; something like this would be good for the entire community and it would not be of a religious nature.

Also, I would like to ask those in the community that are calling those of us who object to this project as "anti-religious" or "wanting to persecute Christians" to consider all the facts. Part of these facts is that there are Christians and religious people like myself who object to this proposal along with those who do not consider themselves as religious. I know many of them personally and they are objecting for similar reasons to mine and because they share my concern for what is best for the Purdue and West Lafayette community. 

I hope that the city of West Lafayette will do the right thing and reject this proposal. Have a great weekend my dear reader!




Yesterday the public hearing of the West Lafayette Economic Development Commission regarding this issue had a full house. Some spoke in favor of this and others like me spoke against it. The vote was 3-1 to pass the resolution on with a favorable recommendation.

The second hearing and final vote will be during the West Lafayette City Council meeting on June 4th.

**Second Update**

I would like to thank Anna, Mike, and many others who worked so hard in our efforts to oppose the bond proposal for 'Faith West'. I truly believe (regardless of the final vote) that we made a strong case for why the city council should have rejected this bond proposal. I would also like to note that considering how some people were talking about us we still conducted ourselves with dignity and may I say gravitas, while we spoke at the different public hearings, when we talked to the press, when we had meetings with members of the city council, and in our dealings with the public.

However, we should remember that the work continues; this issue is closed but there will be other issues to deal with because in the end all of us live in this community and we must continue to work for the benefit of community. 


Thursday, May 17, 2012

My faith as a Christian--Part 1

Hello my dear reader.

During the last few years my life journey has taken me to very interesting places. Along the way I have met excellent human beings and I have learned many lessons about who I am as a person. In fact, some of these encounters have shaped the way I live and how I explore my faith.

As I was thinking about all this I decided to write a series of blog entries. These entries will be personal reflections and meditations on what is faith to me, how I understand my faith as a Christian, some of my joys, doubts and struggles during this journey, and how it affects my life and the lives of others. This is not really advice about how others should think about faith but rather more about me trying to put into words what faith means to me. If you my dear reader find something useful in something that I say and/or you have thoughts of your own please let me know.

I thought that for "Part 1" I would share with you a few of my favorite quotes about/regarding faith. Some of these thinkers are Christians and some are not; I have learned that wisdom can be found in unexpected places:

Faith as ultimate concern is an act of the total personality. It happens in the center of the personal life and includes all its elements. Faith is the most centered act of the human mind. It is not a movement of a special section or a special function of man's total being. They all are united in the act of faith. 
--Paul Tillich

Faith without the practice of love is empty faith, not the faith that leads to the kingdom of God.
--Leonardo Boff

Faith is an unreserved opening of the mind to the truth, whatever it may turn out to be. Faith has no preconceptions; it is a plunge into the unknown. Belief clings, but faith let’s go…
--Alan Watts

Christian faith occurs in the encounter of the believer with him in whom he believes. It consists in communion, not in identification, with him.
--Karl Barth

Faith is taking the first step, even when you don't see the whole staircase. 
--Martin Luther King Jr.

Faith is not a question of the existence or non-existence of God. It is believing that love without reward is valuable.
--Emmanuel Levinas
If I speak in the tongues of mortals and of angels, but do not have love, I am a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. And if I have prophetic powers, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing.
--First letter of St. Paul to the Corinthians 13:1-2

This is all I have to say for now. Stay tuned for Part 2 of this series. BTW, if you my dear reader have a favorite quote related to faith please share it.


Thursday, May 3, 2012

Suicide, tragic car crash, and the year 2008-09

Greetings to you my dear reader.

Marcus Aurelius said whatever may happen to you was prepared for you in advance from the beginning of time. In the woven tapestry of causation, the thread of your being had been intertwined from all time with that particular incident. It doesn't matter if one of us my dear reader, believes (or not) that everything was prepared for us in advance from the beginning of time. I would like to draw your attention and our reflection to the concept of the 'thread' of our lives and how it relates to the lives of others and how those lives in turn affect us connected to the woven tapestry of causation. Why do I bring this up?

It has been a day of very conflicting feelings and emotions for me. This started as I was looking at my Purdue email account this morning and by mistake I hit the 'Received' tab at the top of my messages. This caused the order of my emails to shift from today to all the way back to the 2008/09 first year at Purdue. I found emails with details that flooded my mind with thoughts and ideas from long ago; in a way it feels like finding a dusty old book or diary but since I don't really have diaries this is the closest thing I have. That year I started my career at Purdue and it also marked the start of new relationships of all types, new discoveries about myself and about the world, new ideas including the re-birth of ideas from the past, meeting people that would change my life, and a lot...a lot of moments of laughter, of tears, of joy, of anxiety, of doubt, and the questions and new questions as a result of those moments.

Among my emails I found one talking about the death of a 15 year old girl who was very close to a member of my family. She died in a car crash caused by a drunk driver and to those of you with ties to the community you probably remember this. The email actually made me remember that at that moment (like right now) I said to myself: 'My God...15 years young.'

As I was reading these little bits from my past I found out that former San Diego NFL star Junior Seau was found dead yesterday. The police are so far declaring his death a suicide. As I started to think about this (I remember him very well from my days when I used to watch a lot of NFL games during the 80's and 90's) I can recall his energy and passion in the field; when it came to linebackers this was one linebacker you didn't mess around with. The article said that he is not the only player from that famous 1994 AFC championship team to come to a tragic end; three players died due to heart issues, one in a plane crash, one was struck by lightning while camping, another one died due to a car crash, and another because of a drug overdose.

How many lives did all these people affect and change? And once they were gone, how many friends, family members and others were left picking up the pieces and still trying to deal with the loss? And what kind of lives we live after we loose somebody that we loved?

I have been thinking about all these things today and have many ideas; some of them are what one could call 'abstract' ideas and others 'concrete' ideas. During my own reflection I find myself thinking back to my own experiences, my past, my thoughts of the future, etc, and I also find myself going to the Gospel according to St. Matthew when I tell myself that I should not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will bring worries of its own. Today’s trouble is enough for today. This is true but sometimes I can't help thinking about the issues of tomorrow, then again I am only human.

What about you my dear reader? What comes to your mind when you think about your life ending suddenly? In what ways do you think you have influenced the life of others? What about the people that love you? Imagine how they would react to loosing you...

What kind of things do you want to do with your life before the end?

In the meantime I offer the following words from Friedrich Nietzsche: The world is deep, and deeper than the day could read. Deep is its woe. Joy deeper still than grief can be. Woe says: Hence go! But joys want all eternity, want deep, profound eternity.

I wait for your feedback my dear reader. And I hope you have an excellent rest of the day.