Tag Archive | theology

Happy New Year


Let us keep on being hopeful this new year, and all days thereon.


Let us hope for each other.

Let us pray for each other, wherever we are in the world.

I wish all your dreams fulfilled.



Update. 15th July 2021. Good morning, dear Everyone. Here are the words of that prayer. Thanks for dropping by and praying with me. I am calling on all of the efficacies of prayer, on all the collective love of all sincere hearts that selflessly wish for only goodness to all of humanity and all living creatures, big and small in the biosphere, in all parts known and unknown, from the deepest of the ocean floors and caverns and cliffs to the highest of the habitable atmospheric layers that can sustain metabolism... I am calling on all pure intents for the support of life, love, freedom, respect, celebration, sustenance, generosity, humility, understanding, acceptance, goodwill, health, mutual dependence and mutual giving, and thankfulness... I am calling on all the powers of LIFE and the celebration of life and acceptance of all peoples... Let us bless the earth, let us bless one another, let us pray for each others' lives, let us focus our wishes on each others' wellbeing and inner happiness and continuous hope and never-ending supply of strength for the will to live and let live... I call on all powers of life to curse the greed that is enslaving the systems of this earth... I call on all greed to be found out and to be defeated and to be banished... May it all happen. May it be so. It will be so. It is. Amen. Amen. Amen.

Love the Girls

I am very much revolted by this document by the ISIS detailing guidelines for the enslavement or merchandize of girls.

I have several other issues to gripe about here*, but for now nothing prompted me strong enough to just break off from drinking my pu-erh + green + peppermint tea to just simply stand here and type away.

Granted that even in the Ten Commandments women are shown in there as among the properties of a man, it doesn’t follow that this topic of using women as so is (unconditionally) sanctioned by any deity in the sense that Greek-philosophy originating worldviews would interpret it from the wording in the text. Granted that you may not have any respect at all for the deity called Yahweh whose name appears in the context, it does not follow that this deity sanctions the “use” of women. (I sincerely apologize to those who are offended by my explicit spelling out of the Tetragrammaton.) The fact that you do not have any consideration for any so-called deity does not follow that you condone the use of women as commodity like you do with salt or toilet paper.

This is how the biblical text Exodus 20:17 goes, per two translations that do not use the archaic term “covet” (which means “to want something (which you do not have) very much”, per Merriam-Webster):
Per GNB (Good News Bible):   “Do not desire another man’s house; do not desire his wife, his slaves, his cattle, his donkeys, or anything else that he owns.”
Per BBE (Bible in Basic English, 1965):   Let not your desire be turned to your neighbour’s house, or his wife or his man-servant or his woman-servant or his ox or his ass or anything which is his.

You may argue that this text came from the very region where ISIS proliferates, the Middle East. It does not follow that this is the way the entire Middle East looks at women: as a property/commodity at par with currency exchanged.**  You cannot tell me that Islam does not respect its women as much as Christianity does because my Muslim blood cousins are very much respected in their households, per my firsthand witness of it being so; on the other hand at the same time saying that Christianity itself has issues against women that are currently trivialized by so-called spirituality, per my firsthand witness of it.

So where does this violence in man stem from? Aha, this is within the realm of the problem of evil. This is a realm of complicated and long-winded arguments. I have hardly begun to step into this arena. But then my question implies the radical ingredient of the problem: the generic man, adam, the one who comes from and will return to dust. This adam decides whether to treat a girl as a form of currency or not, to treat a girl as an extension of lust or not, to treat a girl as a tool for the expression of desire for power over xyz, simply of the desire of being able, of having the capacity to be able to do anything without restraint. This adam chooses. This adam’s choice depends on the array of choices available. If this adam sees a choice that is for compassion, against suffering, for love, against exploitation, but refuses to choose it, then this adam by his/her own actions condemns his/herself. If this adam is not able to see this choice for love, then us, fellow-adam, what do we do about it?

What ISIS is concerned about is appalling to the maximum. Seeing that it is so, then what do we do about it in our own little world? You can speak about and against it. You can do a small or a big thing to fight it. But whatever you do, listen to that gentleness that speaks to you, so that you do not fall prey to the desire to have power over xyz (i.e., power over anything in any form, be it things or individual minds or massive enticements, etc.), to the strong urge to “move things” including the one that you deem “good”. Remember what Jesus of Nazareth spoke of which thing here on earth is “good”***, and start from there.
* A hugely popular actor’s pathetic power trips over desirable women who have been silenced for decades by the prevalent celebrity-worshiping pop culture and who are now gathering their voices together; the world’s incompetence at giving priority for arms race and space exploration over the education of the most vulnerable of minds — girls and children — that now is powerfully put into the limelight through the recognition of the effects of the lives of Malala Yousafzai and Kailash Satyarthi by the Nobel Peace Prize; the dazed vulnerability of compassionate girls falling in love for ‘hurt’ men, not seeing nor protecting themselves against these men’s myopic self-absorbed tendencies as portrayed by the tragedy of Reeva Steenkamp and Oscar Pistorius; the stupidity of the powerful few who insist that global climate change has nothing to do with man, and at the same time not being able to compassionately address the devastating destruction of homes and livelihoods and lives at the Pacific rim NOT THE LEAST SMALL (in all sense of the word) NATIONS SUCH AS THE PHILIPPINES; the ongoing exploitation of the richness of Africa in both sides of the Atlantic, both by not promptly addressing the color-divide issue (Those who say that the term “race” is obsolete, speak up!) and by mis/mal-educating Africa toward the temple of consumerism; to the lack of readily available arguments against the all-goodness of modernity, hence consumerism, hence the inevitable response to the need for “servants for the big house”, hence the callous or blind exploitation of the “household” help be it domestic, commercial, coming from the same or from a different cultural background; and for crying out loud, what’s this thing about “measuring” a girl’s morality against her state of so-called virginity as if a girl can by herself devirginize (herself) or that girls get themselves devirginized for the sake of being so??!!!!

** Though not directly in the sense of “currency exchanged”, Professor Christine Hayes of Yale University speaks of Israelite provisions (note: “Israelite” is different from “Israeli”, but I have no time to get into this here now, though I’m sure information on it is readily available in the net) in the Torah (that’s the original term for what is popularly known as the Old Testament) where vulnerable persons in the society, which invariably includes women and orphans, are expressly protected against exploitation, here:   http://oyc.yale.edu/transcript/952/rlst-145. It’s a longish read, but if you’re impatient then you can look over the part within which says, “So it’s also illuminating to compare the Ancient Near Eastern and the biblical legal materials in terms of the concern for the disadvantaged, the elimination of social class distinctions, and a trend toward humanitarianism.”, which is under Chapter 4. Radical, Characteristic Features of Israelite Law [00:29:58]. This is not to pretty-up the Bible here in the apologetic sense, but just to say that Christianity and Islam originated from a way of thinking, among peoples, that took care of systematizing compassion and care for everyone and everything within their way of living.

*** Mark 10:18; Luke 18:19 : “Why do you call me good?” Jesus asked him. “No one is good except God alone. […]” (GNB)


added 18th January 2015:

I’d say something similar for Boko Haram. If you wonder what a monster looks like, a hideous manifestation of evil, then it’s this group’s activities.


Take care, everyone. Go out and breathe the fresh air. Get out of the shadows and soak in the winter sun. Fall in love. Greet the elderly. Laugh until your stomach hurts 🙂 hasta la vista!

on Wolfhart Pannenberg, theology, and science. Part 1

Hello. Good morning. (An information on fractals is at the bottom of the description for Chaos Theory.) 

When my professor finishes marking my paper (A Recapitulation of Pannenberg’s “The Theology of Creation and the Natural Sciences” in: The Historicity of Nature, PA:Templeton, 2008, 25–39.) I will upload it here.

But first, as preliminaries, I want to share a few information that served as submitted-supplement to that paper and which I thought was necessary to have at least the minimum grip on in order to appreciate Pannenberg’s above-mentioned book-chapter.

That is, I did some readings on these in order to ready myself for the class report. Additionally, having a glimpse of the enormity of subject areas that Pannenberg has been trying to link [together] makes one appreciative of the breadth of Pannenberg’s outlook on the connectivity and source of everything: God. I wouldn’t have appreciated Pannenberg [that] much had I no inkling at all of concepts he had in his sights while doing his theological reflections in relation to the natural world.

I’m grateful to authors who make available on the web easily understood basic information on specialized areas of knowledge, like the ones here that I found, below.


Here is the Supplements now [very sligthly edited]:


SUPPLEMENT PAGE | PANNENBERG: The Theology of Creation and the Natural Sciences. [Oberseminar SS2014]

  ♦  natural science = any of the sciences (as physics, chemistry, or biology) that deal with matter, energy, and their interrelations and transformations or with objectively measurable phenomena (Merriam-Webster)
  ♦  quantum physics = the study or description of components and processes within the atom
  ♦  indeterminacy in quantum physics = Heisenberg’s term ‘inaccuracy relations’ (Ungenauigkeitsrelationen) or ‘indeterminacy relations’ (Unbestimmtheitsrelationen) was dealt with in his 1927 papers where he said of sub-atomic particles (paraphrased here ->) “You cannot know the position of a particle and how fast it’s moving with arbitrary precision at the same moment… The more accurately you know the position, more uncertain you are about the momentum and vice versa… So we have essentially given up on predicting the position of a particle accurately, because of the uncertainty principle. All we can do is predict the probabilities.” (http://www.buzzle.com/articles/basics-of-quantum-mechanics-for-dummies.html ; http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/qt-uncertainty/) both accessed 20June2014
  ♦  chaos theory = the study of how even simple systems can display complex behaviour. These systems can seem straightforward — but are very sensitive to initial starting conditions and this can cause seemingly ‘random’ effects. (homeschooling-ideas.com)
  ♦  field = in physics, region throughout which a force may be exerted; examples are the gravitational, electric, and magnetic fields that surround, respectively, masses, electric charges, and magnets. Fields are used to describe all cases where two bodies separated in space exert a force on each other. Each type of force has its own appropriate field. (The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia)
♦  for descriptions on spacetime, etc, this webpage may be of help: http://www.ws5.com/spacetime/
What is Chaos Theory?                     http://fractalfoundation.org/resources/what-is-chaos-theory/ [accessed 20June2014]

Chaos is the science of surprises, of the nonlinear and the unpredictable. It teaches us to expect the unexpected. While most traditional science deals with supposedly predictable phenomena like gravity, electricity, or chemical reactions, Chaos Theory deals with nonlinear things that are effectively impossible to predict or control, like turbulence, weather, the stock market, our brain states, and so on. […] By understanding the complex, chaotic dynamics of the atmosphere, a balloon pilot can “steer” a balloon to a desired location. By understanding that our ecosystems, our social systems, and our economic systems are interconnected, we can hope to avoid actions which may end up being detrimental to our long-term well-being.

THE BUTTERFLY EFFECT: This effect grants the power to cause a hurricane in China to a butterfly flapping its wings in New Mexico. It may take a very long time, but the connection is real. If the butterfly had not flapped its wings at just the right point in space/time, the hurricane would not have happened. A more rigorous way to express this is that small changes in the initial conditions lead to drastic changes in the results.
UNPREDICTABILITY: Because we can never know all the initial conditions of a complex system in sufficient (i.e. perfect) detail, we cannot hope to predict the ultimate fate of a complex system. Even slight errors in measuring the state of a system will be amplified dramatically, rendering any prediction useless. Since it is impossible to measure the effects of all the butterflies (etc) in the World, accurate long-range weather prediction will always remain impossible.
ORDER / DISORDER: Chaos is not simply disorder. Chaos explores the transitions between order and disorder, which often occur in surprising ways.
MIXING: Turbulence ensures that two adjacent points in a complex system will eventually end up in very different positions after some time has elapsed. Examples: Two neighboring water molecules may end up in different parts of the ocean or even in different oceans. A group of helium balloons that launch together will eventually land in drastically different places. Mixing is thorough because turbulence occurs at all scales. It is also nonlinear: fluids cannot be unmixed.
FEEDBACK: Systems often become chaotic when there is feedback present. A good example is the behavior of the stock market. As the value of a stock rises or falls, people are inclined to buy or sell that stock. This in turn further affects the price of the stock, causing it to rise or fall chaotically.
FRACTALS: Fractals are infinitely complex patterns that are self-similar across different scales. They are created by repeating a simple process over and over in an ongoing feedback loop. Driven by recursion, fractals are images of dynamic systems – the pictures of Chaos. […] Fractal patterns are extremely familiar, since nature is full of fractals. For instance: trees, rivers, coastlines, mountains, clouds, seashells, hurricanes, etc.


That’s it. For a quick peek at fractals you may click on my Home tab, above, and the page opened will have a few illustrations of fractals beneath that themselves are links to explanatory pages on them.

Viel Spaß und alles Gute. Ciao.

on John Samuel Mbiti and religious plurality in Africa

Hello. Good morning.

My name is Mona Lisa P. Siacor and I wish to share with you my summaries of the following articles:

African theology revisited by John S. Pobee [pp. 135-143]

John Mbiti’s contribution to African theology by Kwame Bediako [pp. 367-388]

Both are found in: Religious Plurality in Africa: Essays in Honour of John S. Mbiti. Edited by Jacob K. Olupona and Sulayman S. Nyang. In: Religion and Society 32. Berlin. 1993.

I made the informal paper for an Oberseminar discussion in 2012 at the University of Regensburg, Bavaria, Germany.

At the end of the summaries is a note on the word ubuntu of the Bantu culture.

This summary-paper has been officially marked or graded by my professor. Please respect my ownership of it (thank you very much, and peace!). The care I put into the effort reflects my fascination of the collective cultures of the African continent. Had I more time I would have explored the topic further. (As of today, July 31, 2021, I have not edited it, like I’ve been planning to. But I like it as it is, too, and so did my professor.) 

Viel Spaß und alles Gute. Ciao.

A Summary of: African theology revisited by John S. Pobee

Prof. Pobee recalls that Prof. Harry Sawyerr and Mbiti were among the few in the late 1950’s who believed that theology in Africa was in a state of “northern captivity” and who worked to answer “the need to search for and develop African theology”. Although at the end of the 19th century the concept “gone Fantee” [meaning, an integration of African heritage and “authentic” Christianity (and not “European” or “Northern”) (page 136)] was already present, it was Mbiti’s work that has contributed much to the study and has provided references to scholars who followed along this line. This study is now seen as dealing with “the true nature of theology”, whereas earlier critics labeled such works as either “African nationalism donning theology and religion” or “the heathenisation of the African Church”. (137)

Pobee states theology as articulation, or naming, of “the hopes and fears of people in the light of God’s word and self-disclosure”. That naming is “about respecting, understanding the language, liturgy, structure, style, architecture, etc. of a distinctive community of discourse.”(135) Again, “It is human attempt to articulate that Word of God in coherent language.”(137) He draws affirmation from the Word becoming flesh and dwelling among us of John 1:14. It is in this sense when he speaks that the “self-disclosure of God engages people as they are” – with the perception and expression of which being affected by the people’s context. Therefore, every theology is contextual.

Moreover, theology addresses three areas: the academia, the community of faith, and the world (138). While academia has generally dealt theology with logical propositions, this way, too, is contextual. Mbiti pointed out that an oral, non-written, non-propositional style is therefore just as valid. In communities where theology is within unwritten modes of expression, as in the case of Africa, the collection and analysis of these articulations should be a priority. To pay attention to this task is also to pay attention to the people who are producing them. Therefore, “people are subjects of the theological enterprise”; they “help set the agenda of theology”.(138) This statement can be clarified with what Pobee says in page 141, “…bring theology out of the classroom to the people, whose religion after all is subject of the study.” The factors or areas that help set the agenda for African theology are: culture, the context of pluralism, politics, poverty, worship, and biblical scholarship. —> To get the full document —>

 —> For the proper footnoting and the original document, download the PDF file HERE. Excuse my use of wiki and other non-formal sources as references (please change them if you can, when it’s time for you to make use of the information, and if it’s for a formal paper).

♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥ Blessings and joy to you ♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥

on MM Thomas, a book chapter’s recap

Hello. Good morning.

The attached pdf file in this post was a paper for an Oberseminar in SS2011. It has been officially graded by my professor. The source-document was a big chapter and I wrestled a sweeping 2-page recap from it. Experts on the subject will easily see the inadequacies. The final file has 4 pages because I had wanted to include a substantial introduction of the author, Madathilparampil Mammen Thomas (1916–1996).

At the end of the attached pdf file written is : “This article is sacadalang’s recapitulation (written on July 16, 2011) of the aforementioned book’s chapter and was uploaded on August 1, 2014 at: the author’s name, and her professor’s, who accepted the informal paper as excellent work. 🙂 Just please excuse any obvious error I did not spot! Thanks! Originally uploaded in this URL:  https://sacadalang.wordpress.com/2014/08/01/on-mm-thomas-a-book-chapters-recap/

[Good evening. I took the file down for editing. Peace. Hello again. I have returned it to its place! Welcome!

Please click HERE to download the PDF copy of the original document.

This is the same document that was used to be found in https://sacadalang.files.wordpress.com/2014/08/mm-thomas-a-chapter-recap.pdf BUT WHICH NOW ENCOUNTERS AN ERROR SEARCH RESULT—it’s gone after I took down the file, but no worries, it’s available again. Cheers!]

Just a quick description of the source-chapter, and is also an excerpt from the recap:

“Our chapter is a sort of a gathering-together of what the prominent Christians of renascent India said about (their) societal upheaval in the early decades of the 20th Century as representative voices of their country’s Christian population, while being fully conscious of their being “Hindu”.”

Update August 10, 2021. In the end, I was not able to edit it after all. I put here my summary, below, and the entire document can be downloaded via the link I gave you above. It consists of this summary plus substantial notes about MM Thomas, but, alas, it is already 10 years old! Still, it is good notes. Have a great day, Everyone!

Used for: Oberseminar 31758, SommerSemester 2011

Universität Regensburg (under Prof. Dr. Dr. Hans Schwarz)

Document Author: Mona Lisa P. Siacor.

“The Theology of National Renaissance” is the ninth chapter of M. M. Thomas’ book “The Acknowledged Christ of the Indian Renaissance” first published in London in 1969 by SCM, and which he dedicated to his wife who urged him to finish the book as she was dying of cancer.

The book is a survey of “how some of the foremost spiritual leaders of the Indian renaissance … sought to understand the meaning of Jesus Christ and Christianity for religion and society in renascent India” (Preface).  Eight of the book’s ten chapters each discuss (a) particular prominent person’s sweep of views, and not all of them were Christians.  Mahatma Gandhi, who considers Jesus as the “Supreme Satyagrahi”, is on the chapter before ours.

Our chapter is a sort of a gathering-together of what the prominent Christians of renascent India said about (their) societal upheaval in the early decades of the 20th Century as representative voices of their country’s Christian population, while being fully conscious of their being “Hindu”.

The religions of India (collectively called Hinduism), so their culture as well, is said to have dated back 6,000 years ago.  The British Empire colonized India in 1857 and she became independent in 1947.  This independence was achieved through resistances channeled primarily through the arts, academics, literature, music, and the people’s spirituality, the most popular of which was led by the Mahatma Gandhi.  The revival of many aspects of India’s culture as led by various leaders is the reaction against the domination of Western culture through the British.  This is the Indian Renaissance.

The book is a response to Panikkar’s “The Unknown Christ of Hinduism”, but “not of Traditional Hinduism but of Renascent Hinduism” (Preface).  It is the culture of India, in Hinduism, that the revival happened.  This revival is parallel to the nationalistic movement, which is a political movement.  The connection in these three threads is this:  the elite leaders of the nationalist movement were mostly Brahmins educated in Western schools, and many of them were either Christians or appreciative of the event of the British rule.

Against the oppression by the British were several degrees of reactions generated, from moderate to extreme.  The views embodied in most of the leaders discussed in our chapter can be said to be “moderate”.  They want India to remain as India but they also welcome the influence of the West.  “Extreme” would be by those who consider Britain to be “evil”, who see the moderates as “mendicants…too enamoured of things British to be healthy” (<http://www-personal.une.edu.au/~hbrasted/kipling/topic10.html>  accessed July 15, 2011).

The Hindu Renaissance had “three expressions”, the names of the movements and their tendencies to be:

(1.) Brahmo Samaj (c. 1820 by Rammohun Roy), “select from past texts, religion[’]s attributes that show Hinduism as monotheistic and socially reformist”;

(2.) Arya Samaj (c. 1870 by Dayananda Saraswati), “a movement of Cultural Offence…Resurrecting ‘Indian’ Pride in Hindu past…Select from Vedic texts to show that all worthwhile knowledge contained in them”;

(3.) Ramakrishna Movement (c. 1890 by Vivekananda), “West has nothing to teach India.  In fact India should teach West …Movement, in a sense, of cultural arrogance”

… “Conclusion: Hindu renaissance not overtly political, but runs parallel with nationalist movement and fertilises it in the process.” (<http://www-personal.une.edu.au/~hbrasted/kipling/topic10.html>  accessed July 15, 2011).

Our chapter is divided into 5 parts, the title of each summarizing a part of the national renaissance.  Part 1 says that although India’s Christian leaders can accept that it was God who has ordained that India be colonized by the British Empire, and through Christianity embedded in its system of education, for “India’s good” (p. 240; Preamble to the Constitution of the Servants of India Society founded by Gokhale, “…frankly accept the British connection, as ordained, in the inscrutable dispensation of Providence, for India’s good.”) there is the question of whether the providential British raj is in harmony with nationalism.  Most “missionaries” do not think so (p. 242).  Nevertheless Thomas summarizes the struggle to bridge this gap in page 244, “There are in India ‘certain valuations of things and events which are more approximate to the mind of Christ than what obtains in corresponding matters among nations who have borne the name of His religion’.  This makes the Christian nationalist ‘enthusiastic in his patriotism’.”  He seems to be saying that Hindu nationalism and Christianity may not be antagonistic whenever it is “the mind of Christ” that is considered, and not the “Westerness” of Christianity.

The 2nd part says that missionaries were not entirely correct when they thought that “educating” India, providing the Western system of education, would prepare her to receive the Gospel of Christ.  The quote that follows may summarize what the Indian Christian leaders thought instead of “Preaparatio Evangelica”:  “…the Christ in the Western culture awakening the Christ in the Indian culture and preparing India for the new life and the Gospel of Christ.” (page 251).  A nationalist Christian may therefore say that: “…Indian nationalism calls for a more correct thinking about the distinction and interrelation between Christ, Christianity and Christian civilization for the disentangling of the message from religion and culture to enable it to become indigenous to the religion and culture of India and speak to the universally human.” (page 252).

In Part 3 the issue of dealing with the caste system is discussed, commenting that there had been 3 ways of the Church’s having dealt with it: (1.) ignored it, as if it not an important issue and so not even discussing it (p.253);  (2.) absolutely wanting to be rid of it (p.254);  (3.) recognizing that it’s too strong to be dealt with head-on and so a compromise at first is best, leading to gradual change (p.254).  The call, though, is for a koinonia, “’a casteless brotherhood in Christ’” (p.261).

As to Christ’s relevance (Part 4), India has no problem accepting Christ as Incarnate God, as the center of (her) faith.  The tendency to this mentality is already present in Hinduism.  The relevance can be pointed out in the fact that in India it is only through religion that people can be directed toward a “great Indian nation” (p. 264);  “That living Person in the plenitude of His spiritual power embodies in Himself all the moral forces which go to create a vital and progressive organism – an organism which may find its goal in a united and independent Nation.” (p.265).

As to the “Structure of the Church for Service and Missions” (Part 5), “The Christian ideal will find acceptance just in proportion to its embodiment of all that truly belongs to the heart of India. … The Indian Church must find roots in the Indian national life, especially link itself with the new cultural renaissance taking place in India.” (p.280).

The spirituality of India does not condemn systems of faith different from (theirs).  This is a big part of the reason why it cannot agree with Western Christianity’s drive for “total conversion”.  This is why India is not averse to “assimilation” from other systems of faith.  To the Hindu way of thinking embracing Christ can be done without embracing Christianity, or the Christianity that is not theirs.  This is how Mahatma Gandhi and many more has done it.


Used for: Oberseminar 31758, SommerSemester 2011

Universität Regensburg (under Prof. Dr. Dr. Hans Schwarz)

Document Author: Mona Lisa P. Siacor.

♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥

Viel Spaß und alles Gute. Ciao.

♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥

Faith and Rubik’s cube

The Rubik’s cube is fascinating. It reminds me of what life is like. Rubik's cube 1 _green

Life is a series of acts in order to put things into order. Order order order. For me I see life, mine at least, as being put into order at some other parts while [I] am occupied with putting into order some other different part.

I have forgotten about this feature in my life until I recently spent time getting to know a 3 x 3 Rubik’s cube. To my delight I saw that when I try to get a side into a single color the other sides may form distinguishable patterns all by themselves.

Rubik's cube 2 _redThere are those who, like me, do not congregate towards the “very” end of the “orderly” spectrum. I may be called lazy by some, but I know I’m not lazy. It’s just that the way my clock runs isn’t the kind that will stand out in the corporate world. Instead, my clock runs in such a way that I take the time to appreciate patterns that aren’t interesting to others. No, I don’t have the aptitude for the mathematical way of describing patterns, so that’s not what I’m talking about, either. There’s just too much stuff needed to be able to math-talk that I run out of time for them. Nevertheless it would be wonderful if I, too, like the mathematicians am able to cook up a statement describing how the color patterns come up when this and that turning is done on a Rubik’s cube.

Rubik's cube 3 _nearlyThe way I, or you, put our lives into order may be objectionable to others. There are those who express disapproval at the way we do things. It could also be that we try to put our lives into order in such a way that we won’t be at the receiving end of a disapproval. Whichever way it is we do feel the tension between these two ways tugging at us. For me it is couched as “what should I do?”

We all have our own pattern-appreciation-languages ::: musical notes, weaving patterns,  words on a page, lines+shapes+lighting, or sound+movement+lighting, angles+weights, trajectory+speed, food tastes, taxonomy, almost-no-words-but-full-of-thoughts (e.g., the haiku) … et cetera

Rubik's cube 4 _nearlyThere are also those who, like me, aren’t experts at a particular pattern-language but all the same we are uplifted whenever we spot an evidence of one.

If you believe in God then this shouldn’t be a surprise for you. Thousands of years ago humans have already become aware that God causes patterns to form. He puts order out of chaos.

Rubuik's cube 5 _orange

At center stage, my Rubik’s cube on my table where my study things are pushed to the side for the moment.

I am typical of my folks. We get to laugh at almost anything, not the least at our own selves. It helps us cope. It helps us from going down that road which is lethal to those who have “nothing”. I needed to put that within quotes because, one, it is subjective, and two, “nothing” doesn’t seem to exist. That’s what I understood the last time I looked up science. But, I fervently request you, don’t discuss creatio ex nihilo with me yet because I haven’t read up much on that. If you want, in relation to it, you can look at discussions about an ancient Mesopotamian composition that starts with “When on high” … 😀 that’s all I can remember for now 😀

I don’t know which part of the world you live in, but just in case you are also like us who are nakakapit sa patalim (living on the edge of a knife) then let the lesson I discovered from the Rubik’s cube encourage you. Just keep on no matter how hard things are going because somehow there’s a pattern forming at the other side, waiting for its perfect time to come up in your life’s story.

Thank you, Mr. Garfitt.

Jesus came to banish fear.

jesus of wigan  Though I haven’t gone through the entire book yet, the few parts that I have read so far are making good sense to me. For one, I can see that it’s obviously made out of love, that it’s a true labor of love, and it deserves much respect and consideration. Thank you, Francis Garfitt, for writing this fascinating and refreshing book about a living man and a living story that was calcified within just a few pages two thousand years ago.

I have always gone by the thought that if truth is in God, that if ‘truth’ is an embodiment of God, then there’s no way of disproving Him nor that our insistence on “defending” Him will add to that truthfulness. In pursuing my personal studies on that distant world of two thousand years ago when Jesus of Nazareth shook his world, I would like to listen to this particular voice that projects Jesus’ story’s context through a personal conviction using the platform of the contemporary world. ‘Evangelism’, after all, is not limited to the mainstream’s definition of it, if the reader sees it as that. A storyteller is by all means entitled to any artful way of delivering an old story with full relevance. We, those of us who want to keep on telling a story that has been stamped ‘unchangeable’, may just have to take the courage to step out of the silenced crowd and speak in a way that will make the story enabling again even to those who have been rendered numb by the challenges of everyday survival — the way that Jesus of Nazareth did. That’s love.  Jesus of Wigan

What I especially find refreshing among the narratives is the inclusion of the scientific perspective in order to bring about a multi-perspective handling of whatever scene is featured. In this book science is integrated as a tool for looking at what is. The outcome resonates with the Hebrew worldview where things are dealt with integrally, like for example that a human being is not allocated into body-&-soul parts. So far I can see it doesn’t pretend to know everything yet it’s a humbling book. It will make one look at things differently, make one recall the time when one realized that things are not what they are as seen on the surface. It will encourage you to love. It will confirm your simplest reasons for wishing for happiness.

(Note: Today is May 19, 2016. This was written 2 years ago. I need to update it soon. I just got to find the time. Get the book if you can. Jesus of Wigan by Francis Garfitt. You will like it even if you’re not interested in the religious side of it. ❤

Update: May 20, 2016. I edited the original script and added a few words. Still, that is not the ‘update’ that I meant. It will then look like a review of the book.)

Thanks for dropping by. Have a great day, everyone! 🙂


  • 🙂 I have your book today, in paper. I don’t know when I can finish it considering that I’m not supposed to do anything else besides looking for certain things in books for a year at least, but actually I’m now on John’s first baptism. I’m liking John and I can easily connect him with that John in the desert, both with passions of that intensity. But how I wish I knew more of European economy/history so that I could get more laughs out of your quirky statements — I mean, I had my first big laugh at page (though unnumbered) 3 of Introduction and I anticipate that there are lots like it in this your thickish book. Though I think I just go open some more of your book for reasons other than greed for knowledge, otherwise things will just not get right with me. One has to be ready for the things that you say in here 🙂 . What made me confident enough to get a copy was that a few days ago I finally had a gut feeling of what evil is. The subject of evil isn’t an attractive material for me and so I haven’t read up on the academic discussions on it, nor am I interested in the macabre in popular media. But recently, in a flash, I realized that I understood that evil is the attempt to choke/snuff out/strangle life, to negate life. Something happened to me and I felt like I was going to be annihilated, something is trying to deny my essence, and if I let it be I would end up a living dead, a nothing — and so it dawned on me that this, then, is what evil is. I decided to find a way to stay alive despite the presence of this thing that would callously wipe me off from existence if I let it. So I thought that a retelling of Jesus’ story like the way you’re doing is worth looking into, with the horrors of modern metropolitan living, and they shouldn’t disturb me as much anymore due to my newly found knowledge (haha looks like this leads me further into my “knowledge-of-good-and-evil” musings…). I’m wary like this because I’m not familiar with big city living, and the little that I’ve experienced of it I didn’t really like… but I do like the way you explain the will to power … I agree with what you say in there … and I can’t help wanting to catch your words at each right-hand page because they look like they might fall off any time — this was the first big laugh, actually 🙂 THANK YOU for your great effort in this book. May many people come to read it.


  • Dear Sacadalang,

    thank you so much for the comment and for buying a copy of my book. I’m glad you are liking John. He is based on a guy that I met whilst doing some voluntary work. He was working as an ‘enlightened witness’ with other ex-prisoners and this idea of a ‘witness of the light’ kept bringing me back to him whenever I tried to visualise John the Baptist. I was genuinely humbled to meet him. I only met him once, but maybe that is how life is.

    I think that your gut feeling of what evil is, is important. George Macdonald wrote of the shadow inside us all in his book Phantastes, a fairy story for adults. In it he wrote that the affirmation of evil is the negation of all else. So take care of yourself, negation is anti-hope, the anti-social anti-value that builds on feelings of isolation, then anger, then destruction… either of self or others. In the same way that the key to madness is personal to each of us, so is the path to oneness. I love your blogs, their enthusiasm and infectious joy. I don’t know all the films and TV shows you mention, but what I enjoy is learning why you enjoy them. So keep it up, we are all part of the pattern.

    It took me 7 years to write the book, and I always felt that if it touched one person then that was worth it, that whatever I was doing meant something more than just another writer with another book. Sometimes I felt like giving it up as a bad job, and even now I’m not happy with it, I can see the flaws, particularly in grammar. So thank you once again for taking the time to read it.

    kind regards



  • Dear Fran,
    thank you for replying, for the reply, for Phantastes, for John, and for the encouragement — yep, I have a good idea now about the self-destruction and the wanting-to-quit parts, thanks to my experiences — ach, the grammar, well, grammar does not rule so to say … all I know is that I’m reading a genuine specimen of contemporary British English and for me that’s good enough 🙂
    ang sacada lang


    ❤ ——————- ❤

    ( 4.0 out of 5 stars Philosophy with a difference 8 Aug 2013  /  By Viv M)
    I found this book shocking at times and unlike any other “religious” book I’ve ever read. It is an imaginative modern interpretation of the gospel story. I enjoyed the references to Wigan, and there is plenty of humour. It’s a retelling of history with complex twists.
    ❤ ——————- ❤
    4.0 out of 5 stars Are you on the path? 4 Aug 2013  /  By Mark S If you are trying to find a path to faith this book will help. The authors take on the New Testament and the disciples of Jesus provide some great reflective moments for the reader, which disciple are you? The author’s link to modern day diseases, such as the craving for power and certainty, provide an interesting view of the New Testament story and highlight how shallow our modern day lives have become. Our constant desire for instant gratification and oneupmanship are clearly exposed in this insightful work.

    A great read and it really challenged my thoughts. This book has really helped me to think more clearly about what Jesus was really trying to achieve. I don’t agree with all of the authors views but the thought provoking nature helped me to further understand the Bible itself. Well done a great first book.



Ten-Books-You’ll-Want-to-Read [on the Old Testament & biblical studies]

In a vast sea of Old Testament reading materials here is a reliable spot to start from. It is a list of books that could be very helpful to those who would like to establish personal perspectives from where to perceive biblical writings. They may also be essential to those who are into academic biblical studies. I myself am a non-specialist and so am thankful even for just the first book on this list, which in itself is a treasure trove.

I got acquainted with some of these when I stumbled on the lectures of Prof. Christine Hayes at Yale (-> if you’re interested in that you can try this link: http://oyc.yale.edu/religious-studies/rlst-145

Happy studying!


… please access the link below for the original post and so the list …


Update, as of June 21, 2021. The List remains as is, and here’s the rest:
10 ) A Grammar for Biblical Hebrew by C. L. Seow (2nd ed.)

There is now, of course, an 11th book you’ll want to read!

11) The Bible’s Many Voices, by Michael Carasik

The Bible Guy

The Jewish Publication Society, which is publishing my Commentator’s Bible series, has asked me for a list of 10 “recommended” books about the Bible for their blog. I intend to blog about the list myself, in more detail, here on WordPress.
In the meantime … here is the list:

1 ) The Jewish Study Bible edited by Adele Berlin and Marc Brettler
2 ) Who Wrote the Bible? by Richard Elliott Friedman
3 ) Sinai and Zion by Jon Levenson
4 ) How to Read the Bible by Marc Brettler
5 ) How to Read the Bible by James Kugel
6 ) A History of Ancient Israel and Judah by J. Maxwell Miller & John H. Hayes (2nd ed.)
7 ) The Art of Biblical Narrative by Robert Alter
8 ) The Dynamics of Biblical Parallelism by Adele Berlin
9 ) Job by Raymond Scheindlin
10 ) A Grammar…

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Schleiermacher. Fourth Speech. in my own words.

Last year I made a sort of a narrative, putting into my own words what I picked up from On Religion: Speeches To Its Cultured Despisers by Friedrich Schleiermacher (on the Fourth Speech). I thought that somebody out there may also benefit from my effort so I’m putting it here. I don’t know when I could be able to come back to read Schleiermacher again. Also, lest I forget him then at least whatever I understood about him won’t just get wasted to oblivion.

For sure, just saying that it’s only “feelings” that he’s talking about would make it all simplistic. Schleiermacher was one smart guy, after all. He sort of “rescued” “Christianity” from the snobbery of the “intellectuals”, so to speak (I have to have the terms in quotes because they’re loaded with meanings). He wrote this book On Religion basically for the elite of his time, when it was fashionable to denigrate belief in God. There’s lots of information about him in the net. He has to be understood against a vast background, say, culturally, historically, academically.

That time I came to slowly understand Schleiermacher I began to like him. I admired the way he spoke out for the “mysticism” of “faith”, as if saying that it’s not really so urgent to have tabs on everything because none of these “labels” will really hit the mark. What is important is the coming together and the sharing and the mutual appreciation of persons, anywhere and everywhere, across time and space.

When I read up on this Fourth Speech I was aware that he had particular meanings for the terms he used. I read up the English translation and so my understanding was dependent on the English words, meaning my understanding would have been definitely “better” had I the ability to read from the original German. Anyway, all in all I was careful not to get the terms mixed up.

The Fourth Speech is largely about the believers of Christ Jesus. Please, just read about it here, and enjoy. I may have forgotten much of Schleiermacher’s nuances but I won’t forget that I like him.  I hope that this narration reflects that. You may download the PDF copy HERE.


[in my own words, on Friedrich Schleiermacher’s]

Fourth Speech: Association in Religion, or Church and Priesthood

Author: Mona Lisa P. Siacor . 18.May.2012.
For the Oberseminar class under Prof. Hans Schwarz, University of Regensburg,
Bavaria, Germany.

In the fourth speech Schleiermacher deals with the issue of the relationship between the true/ideal church and the visible/real/great church, and the roles played by their respective members [in relation to these categorizations].  He does use the term religion in reference to both/either, but where the distinction is picked up from the discussion context.

Schleiermacher makes the point that religion is social.  A person who intuits part of the infinite has the impulse to impart this experience.  We were more sensitive to these impulses when we were children, but societal norms limit the spontaneity of expressing these as a person takes his place in adult civil life.  This is an impulse to get connected with another human being, a natural way to affirm that the experience still belongs to the realm of humans.  It is not coercion for others to be in exactly the same state as one is, but rather an affirmation of one’s humanness.  Likewise, since this intuition of the universe/infinite is basic to man, then everyone is attracted to any expression of it.

The true church is composed of persons who can understand what each one tries to express.  The basic activity of this company is expressing and listening, and by this activity each one is helped to see more of the infinite, each one is uplifted and uplifts, all in complete generosity and without coercion.  This mutual communication is done in complete understanding of each other, where each one knows he has not himself completely seen the whole. Schleiermacher likens it to the use and effect of music.  The message of the one who expresses it through music is captured by his hearers better than when the message were put into words.  Each one in the true church produces music, like in a choir, but where everyone also hears each other, and in this manner each perceives a bigger part of the infinite than what was originally intuited individually.  In this company all are priests and all are laity in so far as each one imparts and each one assimilates.  There is thus no priest-laity distinction in the true church.  Everyone does the same thing.

This was how he started to discuss things in the Fourth Speech with the intention of tackling the subject of the church from the centre outwards.  True religion is expressed through the visible church.  Some of those who have true religion choose to stay in the visible church and serve as priests or teachers in their concern for those who are still seeking it.  Those who seek religion sense it in them, and listen to them.  The expression of religion to the seekers is by speech or words.  But by the use of words much of the sense of infinity is lost in transmission.   So much so that if words were used for this purpose, then all that the art of using words can offer must be exhausted.

In the true church there is an intermingling between differences.  There are no distinct boundaries between differences, like in a spectrum. Differences do not result in polarization, and in nowhere is there an exclusive claim to truth.  The differing perceptions serve as complements to each other.  Religion is therefore a collective endeavor.  If such a company of participants does exist then most likely it will be consisting of only a quiet group of a few persons who may have sought each other and who are not influenced by the visible church.

The visible church is largely composed of the passive laity who are temporarily excited by the glimpses of the infinite that they can catch from the priests/teachers.  They repeatedly capture and lose these glimpses in the course of everyday civil life, especially where exactness and definiteness are main concerns.  Some do manage to get true religion through continual learning and the piercing together of previous glimpses they had had throughout their life’s experiences.

There is no mutual communication in the visible church.  There is a rigid distinction as to imparters, who are the priests/teachers, and as to receivers, the laity.  The capacity of the laity for true religion is crude.  Therefore they value rigid doctrines more than other forms of expression, even those that would come directly from the priests/teachers.

If the visible church is led by those who know religion, how come it is in a contemptible condition?  Schleiermacher considers several responses to this concern.

Corruption is present in the association of the true society and the seekers, where the true society accommodates the crudeness of the seekers, and where the seekers assume that they are of the same level as of the true society.  It would have been more natural and easier for these priests/teachers to distance themselves from the giant association/institution.  Nevertheless, if they did this it will result to many distinct pockets of learners around a teacher.  With this view in mind, Schleiermacher praises those who choose to stay in the big institution to help the babes, being the less natural and the harder of the choices.

It so happened that a ruler, or rulers, caught a glimpse of the expression of the infinite through the visible church.  In his excitement he proposes measures that would affect the governance within the visible church, such as declaring it as having a special place in civil society.  Had this association been small and insignificant as to catch the attention of the ruler, this meddling wouldn’t have happened.  This meddling robbed the church of freedom and turned to a rigid stone, in the sense of its organizational structure and expressions of faith.

This church-association has become a civil institution, where members of the true church, those who are at home in the vastness and boundlessness of the universe, are of consequence ill-fitted in the governance of such a rigidity and specificity.  Those who are after earthly rewards are now attracted by the prestige of the visible church and some of them even become leaders in it.

The government uses education through the church to: 1) inculcate within people duties that cannot be dealt in civil law; 2) form people into good citizens; 3) provide the coercion for people to be loyal to these civil-related values.  It has gone as far as deciding who is fit to be a model member of the church, or even a priest.  It has equated churchly ceremonies such as baptism and marriage as forms of initiation into stages of civil life.  On the other hand, had the true church been not corrupted by the vast multitude of seekers this meddling by the government would have been resisted.

The next issue that Schleiermacher tackles is on how can there be a mediator between the true church and those not belonging to it, through what he proposes as an auxiliary institution.  Now that it is seen how religion in general has an ugly reputation, the emergence of this auxiliary institution will serve as a medium of purification and to attract new material.  Through it the visible church will slowly be rid of factors that are preventing the seekers from having true religion and in it seekers can find proper guidance toward that goal.  Schleiermacher does not say how this mediator-institution may emerge — be it through a peaceful disconnection of government and church, or by way of spontaneous and simultaneous growth among the German people, or by a totally new institution emerging alongside the visible church.

In this mediator-institution the emphasis is on the nurturing of seekers toward true religion.  The general strict designations of roles and rules imposed by the government will be relaxed in favor of finding a way for seeker-students to learn from priests/teachers who are most appropriate for their needs and inclinations.  A teacher/priest is as well free to deal in areas he is most capable to, with the freedom how to do it, because he has the integrity of being true to his role.  There will be no emphasis on differences between individual inclinations, no value given to the formation of exclusive associations either among priests or the laity.  All in all, the picture is of a dynamic intermingling of seeking and giving.  The goal is to blur the division between priest/teacher and laity, and to get rid of any form of division eventually.

Schleiermacher hopes that those who already have religion, whoever and wherever they are, may contribute strongly to the cleansing of religion’s reputation as they continuously influence people.  The perfect starting place for this may just be in the family.  He dreams of the time when there will no more coercion in an adult’s civil life, where each one does his labor in the spirit of freedom.   [He could be referring to the hard life of the laborers, as this was the time of the Industrial Revolution].  When people are not anymore enslaved then the use of their innate sense will increase.  By then mutual communication can happen.  Lastly, he encourages his reader-friends to participate toward the achievement of this happy time to come. ◊◊◊

♥ ♥ 

If Not Luther, Then Who?

Just as I suspected.

Years ago I found this thick paperback on Martin Luther’s biography and I was disillusioned when I realized that interest in him wasn’t enough to get me through the book. I had a bit of confidence then because years earlier I had learned to brace myself through Silmarillion and The Abolition of Man. I just had to mention these two so that you’d have an idea of what I could make myself go through, and not to brag, because before I put a period at the end of this sentence I’d be confessing that I really had a hard time with those two, plus admitting that I don’t remember nor understood everything I read but that I did make it to their last pages. There.

Now that I’ve decided to check out Martin Luther again to my relief I’ve discovered that I can more or less absorb what I’m reading. But. He’s a difficult subject.

I’m not reading from that same paperback that I had earlier (I don’t have it with me now). I haven’t yet mustered the courage to read his works. I’m still looking for footholds from which to view him, identifying from which perspective I could possibly view from so that I’d be able to see well. I scout for posts in internet sites. I’m so happy that there are so many generous people around the globe taking their time to talk about ideas that are obscured by rhetoric and jargon.

Just as I suspected: Martin Luther won’t be an easy reading. If you want to understand what I’m trying to say here then you have to check him out yourself. From various sources. Not just from one. Don’t stop until you’ve seen differing views.

Do I like Martin Luther? I mean, like the way I like Schleiermacher, Tolkien and Tagore? No, I don’t. Whenever I think of Luther I get pictures in my head of fiery hell and gloomy purgatory. Of cold monks’ cells. Of 100,000 very dead peasants. Of words so spoken that it would leave me dumb and numb. Of words so bombastic that to keep my sanity I’d have to seriously deliberate with my thoughts which light to follow, his or the one’s he speaks against.

Alright. All that is looking at the half-empty part of the glass. On the part of the glass that’s filled this is what I see: if it wasn’t Luther who did that, e.g., 95 Theses then, then who? Who would have wrestled the Bible away from the scholars and make it available for the common people? Luther had the personality and the temperament. Melanchthon, who was a better scholar than he was, couldn’t do what he did. Whatever forces were behind his motives and actions the result is that many people became encouraged to look at the world from a different perspective.

I look at it like this: if the earth were not this distant from the sun then conditions would have made impossible for the biosphere as we see it now to exist. There has to be the magnetosphere and the ozone layer for the likes of us and the animals around us to thrive. I also look at the sizes of the moon and the sun: one is enormous and the other is a fraction of a dot but seen from us they’re of the same size simply because they’re respectively positioned that far away from us. If it were not so then we would never have witnessed the beauty of the total solar eclipse.

So, yes, I guess I could say that he was there at the right place, at the right time, to do what he was supposed to do. That’s my gut opinion. I can’t defend that argumentatively. I can only submit it with my usual smile. I’ve already accepted that he’s a difficult reading, and that means this has to do with all those philosophical, historical and theological issues that by consequence will be involved in studying him, and at the side taking into consideration contextual vis-à-vis psychological/anthropological/social questions.

I really wish some serious scholar would dare a comprehensive research on his personality.

Before I end this post there’s one important thing I’d like to share: I believe Luther had a satori. Really. 🙂 Because he figured it out that only God has free will. That is, the will that’s really free, constrained by no rules, belongs to God and to Him alone…  …and I feel like this is in the realm of my there-are-no-rules thought, the one that I was babbling about in the previous post… 🙂 🙂 🙂 …peace…