Faith : Misconceptions of Christianity

misconceptions of christianity

I’ve intentionally prepared this blog for Easter Sunday!

When everyone else thinks of Easter egg hunts and parties or just simply going to church and complete an obligation, I on the other hand – have been contemplating another “faith-based” post that I haven’t done for a while.

A week ago I had a chance to deliver a talk (for the 2nd time with this topic) – CLS Talk #2 – What it means to be a Christian.

I want to focus more on the facts of misconceptions for all Christians/Catholics that many of us fall into the trap of understanding barely the actions, without contemplating what it really meant. So, the talk enumerates four (4) of them as follows:

[MISCONCEPTIONS] – Christianity is a:

  1.  A mere Religious system
  2. A mere Moral system
  3. A Social/Humanitarian system
  4. An Escape

Above misconceptions have been misunderstood, misjudged or shall we say a wrong thought that needs to be corrected.

Let me start by explaining why these are incomplete notions of our faith:

First, Religious System.

Majority of Christians nowadays think that our faith is a set of doctrines to believe in, some thing that requires memorization such as the Apostles Creed, Our Father, Hail Mary, etc. Sets of religious practices like going to mass, doing novenas, rosaries. Others do readings about God. Gaining knowledge about the religion or some do a lot for God. But the real question is, while all of these are correct and there is no wrong about them, do we actually understand why we are doing them? When we memorize a prayer yet not applying them in real life, knowledge becomes only up to our intellectual level. When we go to mass, yet an hour later we find ourselves angy, disappointed and wants to start a fight because of taxi or bus problems.

How do we align ourselves into this trap? These are incomplete labels for us – followers of Christ, that what we believe/do should be translated into our lives. These religious practices are ought to be “expressions of our faith” and not just a mere religious system. We do them, because in every relationship we have ways express that love. In our relationship with God, we pray, go to mass, do something for God because that is our expression of faith.

Second, Moral System.

People think of what is right or wrong. Don’t do this or that; do this, do that! Thou shall not kill, thou shall not steal, thou shall not lie – – – and the list goes on and on. When we look at our religion into this image – we see it as a legalistic faith. But it should not be! We do what is right and wrong because we are “expressing our love for God and His people”. Our religion should be life giving. That we do what pleases God and/or what makes our family, friends and brethren happy.

Third, Social/Humanitarian System.

Christianity most of the time is equated to being Humanitarian [Humanitarian – people/system that works to make other people’s lives better]. Also equals to people are good, kind, never get angry, all smiles and pleases everyone. While it is true, that Christians posess those qualities, we are also just human. Yes, we envisions our people to be better in all aspects of our lives and be able to claim that we are happy, good, kind people – we also have our own limitations that sometimes we fall into sin and not being able to cope up with this misconception and thus needs the Holy Spirit to guide us. We are not only the faithful in this earth, other religions or shall we say non-Christians are also good. Infact for us OFWs who have faced many different nationalities/religious people – they too are good.

Finally, an Escape.

Christianity is an escape in the realities in life, that this kind of faith is only for the poor, the weak and those who couldn’t cope up with life. But the truth is, we Christians are the strongest among many faithful, because our identity comes from someone who is indeed tough and faithful. That is none other than our Saviour Jesus Christ who has won our salvation right before we asked for it!

“This Easter, let us recall why we become Christians. Let us go deeper on meanings of these rituals/religious practices and understand that there is mission at hand. This reminder applies not only in this season but at all times, especially when we claim to be a follower of Christ. We are His warriors – His missionaries in helping our fellow Christians.”


Get a copy of my talk’s slide on this link: CLS Talk # 2.

God bless!!!


 

What I Learned in our 2016 Sri Lanka Trip

A question, not many would probably ask… most of the time, people ask about “How’s the _____ (country/place) – asking how’s the view, the experience, the food, sightseeing spots, the people and more. On this blog, I would like to answer this in a different perspective. I would like to answer this with what I truly learned and realized when we were in Sri Lanka – September of 2016.

Culture, Food, Places, People and more!
These are the common “what I learned” many would probably share. Indeed I learned about those different aspects of this place that used to be called CEYLON. So I’m skipping this part as I believe, if you have been reading my past blog posts you’ll learn what, where, when how etc… 

This Sri Lanka itinerary would help! So! What I learn about this 2016 Sri Lanka trip with Kokobear and Ate Amie is an eye-opening encounter with God!

Yes, you read it right, it was an encounter with Him!

We stopped by in a church near our hotel, took a few minutes riding a tuktuk to reach St. Mary’s Church. After getting inside, our tuktuk driver guided us to a chapel beside the church. We went down on the underground to their adoration chapel and on that room I have felt God.

I started saying my prayers. Distracted a bit actually because I could still feel the dust around the place as it’s totally new. In a blink of a situation I have started feeling my tears slowly drenched into my face. I found myself crying. My mind is empty, I say prayers no more. Nothing is playing on my head, but the thought of BEING BLESSED. Being blessed for being able to travel. That I have reached another part of the world and able to enjoy His magnificient creations. Able and having fun with my husband and friend. That not many can actually do this. Some may be capable but just don’t get the chance because of the different circumstances they are in. A few has enough money to splurge but don’t have the guts or probably don’t have someone to share it with. I say, I’m truly blessed.

Thoughts about comparing myself to others, thoughts of why we were denied in our last visa application and the questions on why here and why not in other chic places… were erased.

How do I thank God for this opportunity?

I know right? I could actually realize that while I’m in Abu Dhabi or in the other places I’ve visited – but I felt it in Sri Lanka. When I thought this is just a 3rd option to us, but actually this is the chosen place God has bestowed for me to realize how blessed I am.

Signing off all Sri Lankan stories with this blog post. Thank you Lord for such a lesson!

Read all my Sri Lanka series blog (and other places) on my Travel Log page!

God Bless!

JM Kayne | www.iamjmkayne.com

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The Fear of Losing Jobs

As many of you know, I am an OFW (Overseas Filipino Worker) – one of the so called “Bagong Bayani”. I am in Abu Dhabi UAE for the past 8 years and 2 months (never thought I’d go this far…) Like many OFW I have gone through the ups and downs of this life which many of the people in the Philippines especially those who haven’t been abroad don’t know, understand and realize. 
 
It pains me to hear and see family, friends and relatives (or even Facebook friends who are not that close) thinking that someone who is abroad is “rich”, that money is effortlessly gained. That if “naka-abroad ka datu na ka!!!” I think it is because of what most of the OFWs image shows on social media: pictures of the luxurious “kuno” lifestyle, posting food (like feast), beautiful buildings, and gatherings – all smiles and as if life is a bed of roses! Not known to others (or actually knows – but people just play is cool and somehow stays into that illusion that OFWs are = to lots of money) – life outside the country is never easy.

 
*   I remember a friend who wholeheartedly wears her heart on Facebook expressing her disappointments to the people who think that way, especially in her case when she married a foreigner. I feel for her! A sad reality every Juan/Juana abroad has to face.  

 

*      Another colleague gets pressured by her family of buying the latest plasma TV and never even bothers to say thank you for the 32 inches she sent home!  

 

*      A friend whose family thinks he is a bank… asking money after money, week after week.

Want hear more? If you have an OFW family member/friend it’s your time to show some concerns. Ask how he/she is… Of course most of us would just say we’re okay, we don’t want to burden the people in our life and worry about us.
 

Dear Fellow OFWs,

This open letter is to encourage you to tell the truth and be open to your family with your struggles. Let them understand what life is.

 

Dear Friends and Family (of OFWs),

Don’t just think about money – be human enough to care and love those people, who are away from you, you don’t know what they’ve been through. (If you’re not one of them, ignore this letter. If you are guilty – please try to be kind)

 
*  *  *

This year the Emirates are hit with another crisis after 2008 recession.  The bread and butter of this country – the major field is affected which means the Oil & Gas industry. 2016 is indeed a shaky year for Abu Dhabi, Dubai and other Emirates, news of laying off, termination here and there are the major talks. My own company is not exempted, there has been numerous of expats affected with this crisis and with the threat of Emiritazation of the government companies.  

List after list comes and as an expat, I have that premonition that my time will come.
 
Month after month, names after names, position after position, friends after friends – have received their “love letter”.   

Somehow I was at peace. Inside me is the thought that God determines when my time will come. Hearsays heard that my name was on the list earlier this June but haven’t received the letter yet. So I conditioned my mind that one day I will have it. 

So, NDC celebrated the 45h UAE National Day on 29th November and in the midst of this celebration, I received a call from the Employee Relations – HR, never thought IT was the line! There is really that time in our life that even when you conditioned your mind that something’s gonna happen – – –  but when the situation is really at hand, there is that hunch in your heart that says “opppps!”  

No! Don’t get me wrong – It was not shocked… I was something like “uh! – hmm – ok .. moment” . . . my thoughts are battling whether to be happy or sad!


To some of you who know my “NDC work life” – you would understand that I will be happy because of not being able to go through the “Loving thy Neighbor” episodes at work – which actually makes me sin… and if I stay longer I might do the un-doable (MUST NOT – do as a Christian) 

To anyone, the FEAR of LOSING a JOB is something not to be happy with. Of course, financially, it would disable me from doing whatever activity that requires money – simply because our adult life tagged it as a “NEED”! 

But why? Why am I not sad? Actually, I even got excited! Let me tell you some of the reasons:

1.    2016 closes a door (last working day is on 29th Dec), which makes me excited what 2017 has in store for me.
2.    I will now stop the Loving Thy Neighbor episodes (Basically this should go first! )
3.    It gives me a month to go back home and spend time with family (although I’ll be apart with Koko for a while) – which is the reason I have kept this post until now because I’d like to surprise them!!!
4.     Finally, #InMyHeart is PEACE. A peace that makes me trusts God that nothing happens without a reason. In fact, the moment I received my letter – if I could write on Facebook’s “What’s on your mind” status – I’d say “Answered Prayer”

So, why am I writing this?


 
Sorry, my introduction (about OFWs) was quite longer than my main body on this blog. What I want to say is that OFW (and even others who are working) has this “FEAR OF LOSING OUR JOBS” special mention to OFWs because of the visa woes, going through immigration problems, processing documents, to do this and that, flight tickets, exit moments, monetary back-up – – – etc. etc. . .  but I say: 
*Think of it as a door closed by God because he has better and bigger doors to open including windows even 🙂 .* 
Psalms 9:10 says “Those who know your name trust in you, for you, LORD, have never forsaken those who seek you” 

As of today, I am JOBLESS, but I”ll never gonna feel down –  I claim that God has right timing and plans. I keep holding on.


I will keep you track what happens next . . . 

This is my last blog post from NDC computer.  
Thank you NDC, it has been a great 4 years+!

JM signing off for 2016. Ciao!
God bless!

AUREA

Getting to know a Saint : ST. AUREA

Another 3rd Week has come – this August All Sistars were assigned to “GET TO KNOW A SAINT”. I was given St. Aurea. As I Goggled – I found various versions of St. Aurea I guess there are around 3-4 of them. 

But I decided to choose St. Aurea of Ostia. 

Ostia is a seaport in Rome, Italy. It is a diocese of Rome whose St. is St. Aurea. The below photo is a façade of its Church.

Present Day Church 

An insufficient information were noted about this Saint. What has been know is that Aurea (or Chrysse) meaning “Golden Girl” was a part of a noble blood family in Rome in 270 AD. Because of her faith she was put into exile from mainland Rome to Ostia.

A Painting of St. Aurea

In her presence there, it is believed that she had done miracles such as:

*Being able to loosen a Christian prisoner’s chains after their encounter. 
*With this occurrence – she was able to convert 17 prisoners to the Christian faith that has been beheaded later because of their conversion. 
*And another story was shared that Aurea was able to bring back to life a son of a shoemaker. 

With these accounts, although during that century, the Church hasn’t set the official requirements in canonization of Saint – these were the considered reasons of her Sainthood.

Finally, like any other saints, Aurea died a martyr – as she was forced to renounce her Christian faith and give praise to the Roman gods, but she declined.

Therefore she was dragged to her death; thrown to the sea with a millstone on her head.

This is a painting by Andrea Sacchi – that can be found in the altar of the church.


St. Aurea’s feast is every 24th August and 20th May. 

Photo & Info credits from:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Aurea_of_Ostia
http://wdtprs.com/blog/wp-content/uploads/2013/05/13_05_20_aurea_031.jpg
http://www.ostiaantica.net/album/borgo_medioevale/ostia_antica_-_sant_aurea.jpg
http://saints.sqpn.com/wp-content/uploads/img-Saint-Aurea-of-Ostia.jpg

Blog post by : JM Kayne

Huldah


Last July (2014) – All Sistars went for a joint Household & our topic was about The Women from the Bible. 19 sisters gathered & presented one by one the assigned or the chosen WOMAN. 

Here are the list of names & its major characteristic that has been influential to their faith to God.


1. Shunamite girl – compassionate 


2. Rebekah/Rebecca – brave and resourceful young woman 
3. Tabitha – generous 4. Samaritan Woman – willingness 
5. Abigail – generous/faithful 
6. Hannah – Woman of prayer 
7. Rachel – praying & waiting 
8. Huldah – Hope 
9. Sarah – faithful 
10. Ruth – loyal, obedient 
11. Deborah – obedient/strength 
12. Mary – trust/obedience/courage 
13. Esther – courage/selflessness 
14. Priscilla – hospitable/being one with the Lord (w/ Akillah) martyrdom 
15. Elizabeth – faithful 16. Martha – hospitable/faith 
17. Tamar – brave/ claim for the right 
18. Rahab – brave/courage/love 
19. Phoebe – kindness 


Among this list, I have chosen,   HULDAH and on this blog entry I would like to introduce her in my own simple way. With the intention of getting to know a new character from the bible & making her known to my fellow sisters, I see to it that I make a presentation about her. The key factors about her are as follows: 

Huldah 


* The Woman Who Unveiled the Future of a Nation 

* Of the seven prophetesses (Sarah, Chana, Dvorah, Miriam, Esther, Avigail and Hulda) 
* Details about her can be found on : 2 Kings 22:13-20, 2 Chronicles 34:22-28 
* She was the wife of Shallum,), keeper of the wardrobe. 
* After Shallum is brought back, he and Hulda are blessed with a son, Chanamel. The name Chanamel implies “favor” (“Chen” in Hebrew) in God’s eyes. 
* She lived in Jerusalem, in the Second District. 
* Huldah was a relative of Jeremiah; While Jeremiah admonished and preached repentance to the men, she did the same to the women (Pesiḳ. R. 26 [ed. Friedmann, p. 129]). Huldah was not only a prophet, but taught publicly in the school (Targ. to 2 Kings 22:14), according to some teaching especially the oral doctrine. · as an authoritative person, one who made a claim, recognized by the king, the high priest and the secretary of state as a legitimate claim, to speak for the Lord God of Israel. 
* Hulda was a woman of great faith, moral character and broad Torah knowledge. 
* The book that Huldah authenticated – Modern critical scholars [who?] suggest that the book of the law was most likely Deuteronomy 


What is Huldah’s legacy? 
If her legacy was great in the modern church I would not have titled my presentation “Huldah Who? The Forgotten Story of a Female Prophet.” The prophetess Huldah had an important share in the great spiritual revival of the Jewish people under the reign of King Josiah, through her prophecy and influence. 

On this day, I have learned more figures in the bible & has affirmed that although we “empower” the men – women also have their own share in God’s Vineyard! 

I am commending all the women in our Church (nuns/sisters) and my fellow Sisters in CFC-FFL (CFFL) and to the rest of the Christian communities that have done their own share in fulfilling God’s purpose  and mission!

May God be praised!


—————————————————————–

Here is a photo of me, presenting about HULDAH 🙂

Photo Credit from Sis Stacy (on All SIStar FB page)



Info credits from: 
Wikipedia; www.chabad.org; https://www.biblegateway.com/resources/all-women-bible/Huldah; jwa.org/encyclopedia/article/huldah-prophet-midrash-and-aggadah; biblehub.com/topical/h/huldah and more. General through Google.

Photo credits from: 
https://dwellingintheword.files.wordpress.com/2011/03/huldah.jpg http://www.google.ae/imgres?imgurl=&imgrefurl=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.ushpizot.org%2Fushpizot-chart%2F&h=0&w=0&tbnid=th5bku5Q-6D5fM&zoom=1&tbnh=132&tbnw=80&docid=FcU5cGFpVrkaZM&tbm=isch&ei=hpL8U9KbBqua0QW2p4DQCQ&ved=0CAgQsCUoAg http://christianselfstudy.com/moodle/pluginfile.php/175/mod_page/content/5/H1.jpg

Blog post by : JM Kayne

Ginoo Walay Sukod – MYMP

Ginoo, Walay Sukod 
Been battling a not so good “song” over my mind & have tried to fill my mind with praise songs, this is one of those that helps much! Not just songs but some not good thoughts, the solution is to sing, not just in the mind, but opening ones mouth & sing it loud. The truth is it’s been 2 days that in my idle time the bad song just sinks in, so I call the Lord to please help! Then I put my mp3 & start songs of praise.

What’s sad is that a friend confirms that she does experiences it too, it’s like because of its good tune, it seems like it is stuck on your head like an LSS (Last Song Syndrome). Be aware! This is not a good sign, if our youngsters who listens to this without spiritual guidance, how will we fight?

We need prayers. We need praise Songs like this.
The song is rendered by a Cebuano artist MYMP.  Listen & Thank GOD!
 Nagapasalamat kami
Sa kinabuhing gihatag kanamo
Sa kalipay nga among gibati
Sa among pagampo, Ginoo dungga kami
CHORUS
Salamat, salamat Ginoo
Walay Sukod imong kayo (2x)
Walay pagmahay Ginoo,
Sa among pagsalig kanimo
Ang kalipay ug among kasakit
Gihalad kanimo
Ginoo, dawata kami
Chorus 3X
Blog post by : JM Kayne

Evangelization Rally: A Spiritual Re-Charge!

It’s been a while since we had a break in our weekly household & all for the yuletide season & as an Opening Salvo for the New Year here’s Evangelization Rally as an opener!

So here are some of the captured photos of this year’s Spiritual Re-charge! 2012


Personally, it’s a very helpful session for me. It allows me to reflect & bring myself back to the true raise of life!


May this year be as fruitful as last year!

TO GOD BE THE GLORY!

Blog post by : JM Kayne