The Other Face of Pride: MCGI Christians on The Good Kind of Pride

News, Events and Second Glances

People do not normally say, “I am a proud person” on a regular basis.

We do not normally hear that sentence mentioned with enthusiasm during the first day of school when students are asked to state their name and something interesting about themselves. Or when meeting one’s future mother-in-law for the first time, where first impressions are incredibly, life-alteringly important.

And it’s not that big of a mystery – pride has had a negative connotation over the years, with it being one of the seven deadly sins.

One can say that if the word pride were a novella, it would be the Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, because the word pride doesn’t just represent a dark-sided face. It is one complexly beautiful term with an underrated good side.

Pride Has Two Faces

In the world of psychology, there are two types of pride. In a scholarly paper entitled “Types of pride and their expression,” the stark difference in pride’s two types based on the studies of Jessica Tracy, PhD and Rick Robbins, PhD, are explained:

Authentic pride, represented in words like accomplished and confident, is positively associated with personality traits of extraversion, agreeableness, conscientiousness, and with genuine self-esteem, whereas hubristic pride, related to words like arrogant and conceited, is related positively to self-aggrandizing narcissism and shame-proneness.

Based on the types of pride, fortunate individuals possess the healthy authentic pride, which is a positive interpersonal trait that springs forth from accomplishing something great.

In an interview published in the American Psychological Association, Dr. Tracy remarked on the importance of having pride.

“If you have an achievement or success, it’s important that other people know about it. It says: ‘I’m someone who shouldn’t be rejected,'” stated Dr. Tracy.

Christian Pride at its Finest

And it is that good kind of pride that Members Church of God International (MCGI) Presiding Minister Bro. Eliseo Soriano urged Church members to have: to be proud of being Christians.

Bro. Eli tweets how proud he is to be a follower of Christ's doctrines. Photo courtesy of Bro. Eli's official Facebook page.

Bro. Eli tweets how proud he is to be a follower of Christ’s doctrines. Photo courtesy of Bro. Eli’s official Facebook page.

The international preacher reminded the Christian members of MCGI to be proud of being Christ’s followers, because God Himself is proud of those who follow His words.

“The Son of God thinks of things that are of heaven. Brethren whose vision is directed towards things that are of heaven, those are the people that God is proud to call His children. He is delighted when they call upon Him,” remarked Bro. Eli.

Which was greeted by a positive sense of pride by Church members all over the world. From Apalit, Pampanga where the Ang Dating Daan Convention Center is located to various coordinating centers all over the world.

Online, MCGI Christians brandished their sense of pride on social networking sites such as Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.

Here are some of the crowd favorites:

Sis Karol writes in her native language how proud she is to be a Christian. Screenshot courtesy of Sis Karol's Facebook account.

Sis Karol writes in her native language how proud she is to be a Christian. Screenshot courtesy of Sis Karol’s Facebook account.

Hailing from Perth, Australia, Sis Aileen Ravalo posts one of the Bible verses discussed By. Bro. Eliseo Soriano on Christian Pride.

Hailing from Perth, Australia, Sis Aileen Ravalo posts one of the Bible verses discussed By. Bro. Eliseo Soriano on Christian Pride. Photo courtesy of Sis Aileen’s Instagram account.

Bro. Robin Mendiola states that the best thing that happened to his life was when he became a member of the Church. Courtesy of Bro. Robin's Facebook page.

Bro. Robin Mendiola states that the best thing that happened to his life was when he became a member of the Church. Photo courtesy of Bro. Robin’s Facebook page.

“We have nothing to be ashamed of. The word of God is something to be proud of every time and all the time,” remarked Bro. Soriano.

And so these Christians  herald their pride to the world, and they don’t stop at uttering and posting words — they strive with God’s help and mercy to live by it.

 

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References:

1] Carey, Benedict. (April 6, 2009) When All You Have Left Is Your Pride. Retrieved fromhttp://www.nytimes.com/2009/04/07/health/07mind.html?_r=0

2]  Azar, Beth. (March 2006). The faces of pride: New research on pride suggests it deserves more credit as a basic human emotion than previously thought, Vol 37, No. 3. Retrieved from http://www.apa.org/monitor/mar06/pride.aspx

#BibleExpo: Biblical Wisdom through a Hashtag

News, Events and Second Glances

From music to money, the flexible pound sign (#) has been making  lives easier since the 12th century.

And it was that one fateful day in August of 2007 when a mere suggestion by Chris Messina turned out to become the start of something that would change the face of the # forever.

Photo courtesy of InternetMediaLabs.com, from the article entitled The Hashtag: A Door to Discovery on Twitter. Link: http://internetmedialabs.com/twitter-hashtags-101-guide/

Today, the hashtag is everywhere – Twitter pioneered its usage while Google + and now Facebook has followed suit. Thanks to one symbol, social media users are now able to follow and track what topics interest them.

Just as long as a topic is preceded by the #, it is archived in the vast recesses of the Interwebs and will be there waiting patiently for you to peruse it until you get to the nearest Wi-Fi hotspot.

Fast forward to six years from the first hashtag created: August 2, 2013 – a group of people who believe in sharing God’s wisdom to others via technology will be making use of this popular symbol to impart biblical logic to the world.

God willing, these people will be using the hashtag #BibleExpo on Twitter, Facebook and Google + for the Members Church of God International’s (MCGI) Worldwide Bible Exposition.

The official Bible Exposition hashtag: #BibleExpo. Photo courtesy of Ang Dating Daan's Facebook page.

The official Bible Exposition hashtag: #BibleExpo. Photo courtesy of Ang Dating Daan’s Facebook page.

Just like the hashtag, Bible Expositions were created to bring people who would like to learn more about an important topic together – salvation. Visitors from all over the world get to ask their questions on the Bible – and they would get a Bible-based answer from international preacher and MCGI Presiding Minister Bro. Eli Soriano and Vice-Presiding Minister Bro. Daniel Razon.

During Bible Expositions, guests and online followers who may be stuck in traffic or their work desks benefit from the live blow-by-blow account of the questions and answers from the live Twitter feed from the Church’s official Twitter accounts –  @TheOldPathTV (English) and @AngDatingDaanTV (Filipino), as well as from visitors who join in on the live blogging using the #BibleExpo hashtag.

There’s a lot of use to the #. And for a group of humble believers the world over, its use is of something great:

#Salvation

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References:

1] http://socialmediatoday.com/kevin-basset/1545426/history-hashtag-infographic

2] http://www.nytimes.com/2012/11/04/magazine/in-praise-of-the-hashtag.html?pagewanted=all&_r=0

3] http://www.mcgi.org/about/leaders/

4] http://internetmedialabs.com/twitter-hashtags-101-guide/

It’s More Beneficial in the Philippines: A New Brand of Healthcare Reform Powered by UNTV’s Unique Public Service Firsts

News, Events and Second Glances

While democrats and republicans are still battling it out on the famous Obamacare, debating whether if it’s a good idea or otherwise, a man with a big heart somewhere in the small yet beautiful islands of the Philippines is busy bringing his own brand of healthcare reform in his homeland.

And for the thousands of Filipinos who will benefit from this landmark public service endeavor, this is more than just a good idea. It’s a great, lifesaving idea that has never before been attempted in the whole nation.

The man behind this is Daniel Razon, broadcast journalist and CEO of Breakthroughs and Milestones Productions, Inc and UNTV and he is bringing free healthcare to Filipinos who need it most – in all parts of the country. This is part of what was announced on the 9th anniversary of UNTV 37 on July 18, 2013.

UNTV 37's 9th year anniversary held on July 18, 2013 with the theme: Inspiring Change, Building Better Communities. Photo courtesy of UNTV 37'S Facebook Page

UNTV 37’s 9th year anniversary held on July 18, 2013 with the theme: Inspiring Change, Building Better Communities. Photo courtesy of UNTV 37’S Facebook Page

Sit back, stop arguing, and watch how it’s done, America:

 Free Healthcare In Manila and Nearby Regions..

The UNTV 37 station in Edsa, Quezon City, Philippines is the only station in the Philippines with a built-in clinic. This is where people get free medical services from Mondays through Fridays, as seen on the network’s morning show Good Morning, Kuya!:

  • General medicine consultation
  • Optometry
  • Dental
  • ENT
  • Gynecology
  • Pediatrics
  • Dermatology
  • Dental
  • Orthopedic
  • Physical Therapy
  • Minor surgeries
  • Free medicines

Aside from this, another free clinic is situated in the Ang Dating Daan Convention Center in Apalit, Pampanga, ready to aid those in the area for free. UNTV ambulances are on standby 24/7 for emergency situations, ready to transport and give first aid to those in need without asking for a single penny.

…And to the rest of the Philippine Islands

Debuted just this July 18, UNTV Health Coupons will be distributed to those who are in far areas. Holders of UNTV Health Coupons may go to nearby affiliated hospitals in their area to avail of free medical services.

Kuya Daniel Razon, dubbed as Mr. Public Service, as he tells everyone of the new health services UNTV is offering for all Filipino indigents across the country.

Kuya Daniel Razon, dubbed as Mr. Public Service, as he tells everyone of the new health services UNTV is offering for all Filipino indigents across the country.

If that weren’t enough, UNTV is also giving away UNTV-sponsored PhilHealth insurance cards in all parts of the country for Filipino indigents. Those who will be eligible for these medical freebies will be determined in cooperation with the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) and local government units.

These are of course, in addition to the regular medical missions carried out by the network – which brings a team of medical professionals along with medical equipment and medicines to far-flung barrios and villages. As promised by Mr. Public Service Kuya Daniel, the medical missions in partnership with the Members Church of God International, will be more extensive this year.

In partnership with MCGI, UNTV holds medical missions in provinces of the Philippines. Photo courtesy of MCGI.org

In partnership with MCGI, UNTV holds medical missions in provinces of the Philippines. Photo courtesy of MCGI.org

This just blows me away. Not only are these healthcare programs ingenious, but also, a budding network is behind them.

These health reform ideals are proof that the relatively small can create ginormous ideas for the good of all.

Living away from my country of origin, it makes me all the more proud to see how progressive Filipinos are in thinking of ways to help improve the plight of others.  UNTV 37 is one big, lifesaving reason why it’s more beneficial in the Philippines. And ultimately, just more fun.

Faith and Fireworks: Celebrating the International Thanksgiving to God in Sunny New York – Day 1

News, Events and Second Glances

July 4, 2013.

While people from all over New York go to Times Square to watch the yearly fireworks display for the Independence Day celebration, members of the Church of God International in New York enjoy a different kind of fireworks from inside one event hall in Queens, New York.

Six hours before the big event, I, together with two sister-friends boarded the Q17 bus to get to the Thanksgiving location. On a hot, humid day, people wore short shorts and sleeveless tops.

Our “outfit of the day” looked somewhat different, eliciting looks as we passed by residents and commuters alike. No matter, we were proud of what we were wearing: Teatro Kristiano uniform and the usual modest, Thanksgiving garb – like what we were taught in the Church.

The sun shone down and heated pavements at a high 88 degrees Fahrenheit as I checked my old phone’s clock. It proudly told me that it was 1:09 p.m. At last, after about an hour of traveling, we reached the venue – all set, waiting for everyone.

Group by group, brethren from Canada, Connecticut, Maryland, New Jersey, South Carolina, Massachusetts, and even Oklahoma arrived – with suitcases, duffel bags, and their adorable kids in tow. Despite the long travel hours, they all had something in common – they all brandished excited smiles.

Before I knew it, it was 5:55 p.m., and the music ministry choir led the congregants in singing songs of praise in Apalit, Pampanga. In New York, the East Coast USA Choir led us in singing.  Finally, after three months of long wait, the International Thanksgiving to God has finally begun!

The East Coast USA choir, together with choir delegates from Canada, lead the brethren in singing songs of praise during the ITG. Pauline Arellano, PVI NY

The East Coast USA choir, together with choir delegates from Canada, lead the brethren in singing songs of praise during the ITG. Pauline Arellano, PVI NY

Cheers resounded in the small hall where brethren are in Queens, as Bro. Eli, in his signature turtleneck and coat, spoke to brethren all over the world. Bro. Eli Soriano, Presiding-Minister to MCGI welcomed the brethren on the first day of the ITG, immediately after the choir and teatro offered a song of praise to start off the event.

Two topics were discussed on the first day. Vice-Presiding Minister to MCGI Bro. Daniel Razon gave the first part of each topic, while Bro. Eli delivered each topic’s climax.

During the International Thanksgiving celebration, believers from our neck of the woods turn night into day so we could listen fervently to spiritual knowledge that we won’t be able to hear anywhere else.

While some of the brethren in the Philippines drank coffee because it is the morning time norm, the brethren in the Americas did too, at night, to keep awake and focused while listening to the wisdom being unfolded during the three-day spiritual feast.

To make sure that all are up in the wee hours of the night, each short break was used to eat and recharge with power naps. At midnight, while brethren in the Philippines took a break for lunch, we here in New York prepared to take a short nap.

Before I closed my eyes, at 1:09 a.m., I stole a glance out the window. A couple of hours ago, traces of green, red, and blue muted fireworks peppered the ebony sky.

The night turned into day, and with their notebooks and Bibles in hand, the brethren were still up with God’s help and mercy, listening to Bro. Eli up until the very last biblical wisdom shared for the day.

Brethren from East Coast of US and Canada gather in New York to celebrate our International Thanksgiving. Januel Arriola, PVI NY

Brethren from East Coast of US and Canada gather in New York to celebrate our International Thanksgiving. Januel Arriola, PVI NY

Looking out the window, the sun was already high, and no trace of fireworks can no longer be seen from yesterday’s Independence Day celebration here in America. But inside the small hall in Queens, the fireworks are still very much alive.

The fireworks are the exuberant, excited glow of the brethren’s eyes. And as the International Thanksgiving is happening, the fireworks become stronger, more vibrant, and more extravagant. Never fading, never waning; despite the long travel, heat, and exhaustion, the fireworks don’t end.

Happy International Thanksgiving to God, from the brethren in East Coast USA and Canada! Pauline Arellano, PVI NY

Happy International Thanksgiving to God, from the brethren in East Coast USA and Canada! Pauline Arellano, PVI NY

These kind of fireworks may very well last forever.

HAPPY INTERNATIONAL THANKSGIVING TO BELIEVERS IN ALL PARTS OF THE WORLD!

LGBT Pride Month or Not, “Happy Christians” Celebrate Christ’s Love

News, Events and Second Glances
Hope. Pauline Arellano, PVI NY

Hope. Pauline Arellano, PVI NY

It was mid-morning on June 28, 1969, and the hazy bar light half-shone on the hurt and angry faces of Stonewall Inn’s gay patrons. Angered by much police harassment, they fought back and riot ensued. Soon, the riot became a series of riots spearheaded by gay men and women who battled police harassment towards the queer community. This is the infamous Stonewall Riots, the turning point for gay rights in the United States.

This is why June is a special month for the LGBT or Queer communities from all over the world. This is when the LGBT Pride month is celebrated.

But for the Christian queer community in the Church of God International, all months are special months, for they have learned the deeper, biblical definition of gay rights through preacher Bro. Eliseo Soriano.

The Church’s group of talented and vibrant individuals is aptly called “Happy Christians.” And for good reason too. They are indeed, gay, but they are, most of all happy – for they are welcomed, appreciated, and valued in the Church and enjoy the rights to equality awarded to them by a power higher than the highest courts of man: God’s laws.

 “Homosexuals are human beings. All human beings are product of God’s pro-creative power. What is attainable by ‘normal’ human beings (if homosexuals are considered by others as abnormal) can be equally attained by them, also,” writes Bro. Eliseo Soriano on his blog Can a Homosexual Make it To Heaven?

The preacher is often asked about homosexuals and their chance to salvation. And his answer has always been on the positive side of the salvation equation:

“God wants all men to be saved,” states Bro. Eli: a concise yet powerful biblical sentence, full of God’s fairness and justice that many homosexuals have been fighting to attain all their lives. This right to equality in salvation is being enjoyed by the faithful gay community of the Church, making them enjoy the gift of inner peace and contentment in their lives.

The best right that the gays, or anyone else, can ever have, is the right to be saved – and that right has been given by God to all, regardless of sexual orientation, race or color. It’s right there all along, as Bro. Eli teaches, in the Holy Bible.

Now to exercise and celebrate that God-given right is completely up to each human being.

The Bare-naked Truth on Self-Expression

News, Events and Second Glances

dream

Pointing out that I’m nowhere near being a fashion guru is important at this stage of the blog, since I consider you, the very patient reader, to be my friend by now.

So my dear friend from the Interwebs, let me just get this out of the way: I do not know “what’s hot and what’s not”. I do not know what kind of dress that Twilight or Hunger Games person will be wearing to the Oscars. Don’t even get me started on couture, because I’m as confused as you are.

However, I took a short sabbatical from reading Halo – Fall of Reach because I do have something to say about dressing up.  And it is my sincerest hope that even with my non-existent credentials as a fashion authority, you’ll find it in your heart to give this a few scrolls down.

Clothes are necessary. For the majority of the human population who don’t live in nudist camps, clothes act as our washable (yes, do wash them from time to time) armor. They hide our curves and unmentionables, or lack thereof. They shield our bodies from freezing temperatures; they help us stay cool on warmer weathers. They also, as considered by some as its primary function, help us express our oh-so-vibrant personalities.

With our feathered hats and zebra-print knee-highs, most of us walk around our school halls and office corridors because we are free to do so wearing whatever we choose to wear.  We are given that right.

Here in America, that right is the First Amendment – the freedom of speech or freedom of expression. It is because of this piece that John Tinker, together with his friends, won a case against the Des Moines Independent Community School District.

Here’s how things went down (it’s short, I promise):

In 1965, high school student John Tinker together with his friends Mary Beth and Christopher decided to express their disapproval of the war in Vietnam by wearing black armbands to school.

Because the school did not allow this, they were suspended until they agreed to return to school without the armbands. They came back after New Year’s, which was when their protest was scheduled to end.

They lost in the in the District Court, but the case was tried in the Court of Appeals in 1968. Tinker and his friends won.  (That was short, as promised. The long one’s here, if you’d like to take a glance at it.)

In today’s world, the freedom of expression has gone from protesting against the war, to protesting for fashion.  Let’s consider this plea from Minnetonka High School principal Dave Adney, in an email he wrote published on the Star Tribune:

Hello Parents of Minnetonka High School students,

This is Dave Adney with an update on high school fashion trends and a request.

As the weather gets colder we have noticed a fashion trend with our young women. Many of them choose to wear leggings usually made of spandex or another form of tight fitting material. In past years this has not been a major problem since fashion norms called for a long sweatshirt, jersey or sweater to be worn in conjunction with the leggings. This fall another pattern has emerged and we are requesting parent support.

Some of our girls have chosen to wear t-shirts with the leggings, thus exposing more leg and backside area. This can be highly distracting for other students and I am asking your assistance. If your daughters choose to wear leggings or other tight fitting clothing please support our goal of keeping things covered up. We encourage students to dress modestly and this trend is definitely a move away from our general expectations.

Thanks

Dave Adney

And disagreeing parties, in student form, rose to the surface. In an article written in the Huffington Post about this principal’s request for his students to cover up a bit, one female student said “If a girl feels comfortable in what they are wearing, then it should be accepted and not prohibited.”

The principal said that they wouldn’t ban leggings altogether, because they are comfortable and they do need it for colder weather. But his small request: wear something longer to hide what needs to be hidden.

It’s the same issue with a different facade: these young girls demand that they be given the right to express themselves, for it is their right, and they want to exercise that right. They want to wear leggings with shirts, which means exposing their behinds and whatever else would be seen, they feel that they should be allowed to do so – it is who they are, they feel. Would the school be robbing them of their right to express themselves if they ask that they wore something longer atop their spandex leggings?

In line with this, I think that the root of the issue is not freedom of expression per se. I am for freedom of expression, especially for religion. I think expressing ourselves is vital. So before we do some serious bouts of expression, we must first turn the attention on ourselves. The real issue lies on who we are. Who are we? And why must the world know who we are?

I believe that before we concern ourselves with what’s outside, we must learn to take a look at what’s inside. Strip away what’s on the surface and look at the bare-naked truth of what’s inside our very beings.  It won’t hurt, I promise.

Ask yourself a few questions. What do I believe in? What do I value? What am I about? What moves me? What motivates me? Why do I feel the way I do? What do I really know about myself?

We all have different backgrounds, cultures and beliefs that mold us into who we are. We have things that we hold dear in our hearts and keep track of in our minds constantly. These dictate who we are. If we believe that who we are is worth showing to the world, then it is our obligation to do just that. At this point in time, the world needs all the inspiration and awareness it can get.

In this video entitled What is the duty of a preacher of God in instilling God’s words to people, Bro. Eli Soriano talks about developing a deep love for God which opens people’s spiritual awareness. He mentioned that this is not present in everyone. And we can testify to this fact. Not everyone has developed spiritual awareness. We see it everyday – in the news, on our streets, and maybe even when we face the mirror.

So what do we do? What do we show the world?

I think that people, especially the youth, who decide to show the world that there is much more to their fresh faces than just fads and the next big boy band sensation from wherever are commendable. Instead of showing their skin, they show a part of themselves that has the potential to change the world – love. They are ready to show the world that charity is easy, with the help of God. That forbearance is a virtue. That being modest is to be brave.  That rights come with responsibilities. That dressing to impress others is nothing when compared to dressing to impress the One who matters.

In the Bible, Christians, or the followers of Christ, are ordained to be meek and modest in clothing. And I must say that to choose to be simple in the time of a very fashion-driven world is quite a statement to make. While the whole world busies itself with trends, Christians make a mark by wearing simple clothes. But on the inside, their hearts are heavily armored with God’s words, ready to fire wisdom at will, for any given situation. For these folks, Christ is the trendsetter, and His words are to be followed at all times. They find comfort in doing His will, which goes beyond the physical comfort the most expensive spandex money can buy will ever give.

So, whoever you are, are you bold enough to show everyone that you are more than what the eyes could see?