#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/

Blessings in Disguise: Behind the Exiles of Jose Rizal and Bro. Eliseo Soriano

News, Events and Second Glances

Photo linked from Bro. Eliseo Soriano's blog entitled

Photo linked from Bro. Eliseo Soriano’s blog entitled “The Lucky Person I Am: Most slandered me” Blog: http://esoriano.wordpress.com/2011/06/02/the-lucky-person-i-am-most-slandered-me/ on Esoriano.wordpress.com

Yesterday, June 19, Jose Rizal would have celebrated his 152nd birthday. Jose Rizal, the champion of the Malay race, died facing a firing squad when he was just 35 years old. It was then that the Philippines lost a doctor, poet, linguist, artist, author, revolutionist, philosopher, activist, professor, and hero.

Before his untimely death, he was exiled in Dapitan. And though he was far away from those whom he loved, his time was not used in vain.

In a website chronicling the life of the national hero, his time away was not time wasted – he spearheaded the construction of an easier water system, taught farmers how to operate modern agricultural devices, learned how to farm himself, practiced medicine, taught students, collected specimens for scientific research, and wrote a book and some poetry.

One could say that his stay in Dapitan was peaceful and at the same time, fruitful.

Fast forward to today’s time, wherein another Filipino gentleman lives in forced exile due to rampant death threats and invented lawsuits. The gentleman is Bro. Eliseo Soriano, a preacher who exposes biblical truth at all costs – even at the cost of his leaving the country to continue his crusade on letting the truth of the Bible be heard.

It was in the latter part of 2005, when Bro. Eli left the country. From then on, following God’s will, Bro. Eliseo Soriano has traveled various parts of the world to preach God’s words. More and more coordinating centers are being established in the western part of the globe, and more is to come, with God’s mercy. Jane Abao,PhD gives a detailed and colorful read on Bro. Eli’s exile here.

Like the late Jose Rizal, Bro. Eliseo Soriano’s exile is fruitful – spiritually fruitful – as evidenced by the many emails he receives on a daily basis asking for services, baptism schedules, and the establishment of nearby coordinating centers.

His Bible-based question and answer program Ang Dating Daan is now translated in various languages. He holds Spanish and Portuguese online Bible Expositions. He travels weekly to different locations to meet and tend to the spiritual needs of brethren and visitors.

He maintains a faith-based blog. He answers any and all spiritual questions on Twitter. He gives a weekly dose of spiritual knowledge to the congregation during Thanksgiving celebrations and answers questions on the spot. He responds to questions via his email. He runs businesses to support the ballooning costs of propagating God’s words in more and more places. He regularly cooks for his family and broadcast staff.

All these, and more, the Filipino preacher does on a regular basis at an age more advanced than Jose Rizal.

Though both were exiled, Bro. Eliseo Soriano’s exile is not as peaceful as the late hero’s. The preacher who’s reputation is continuously besmeared  wrote in his blog entitled “The lucky person I am: Most slandered me”:

I believe using mathematical and logical calculations that, I am the most slandered man in the history of Christianity. The defamations being thrown to my person “go beyond borders.” I mean beyond the borders of the land of my birth, the Philippines. By using the most efficient cyberspace technology that is however lenient in terms of charging responsibility and accountability, my detractors were able to popularize these lies beyond borders.

Both of these remarkable men managed to make the most out of a situation they did not choose to be in.  Both men were exiled, but still, were able to see the blessing behind being afar from those they love. Both remained doing what they do best.

The word “interesting” would be an understatement to describe a conversation between these two men if they met, somehow.

References:

http://esoriano.wordpress.com/2011/06/02/the-lucky-person-i-am-most-slandered-me/

http://kotawinters.wordpress.com/2009/04/30/thank-you-for-the-sorrows/

http://www.joserizal.ph/dp01.html

http://kotawinters.wordpress.com/2009/06/14/dr-jose-rizal%E2%80%99s-language-very-much-alive-in-bro-eli-soriano/

http://www.mcgi.org

http://www.mcgi.org/about/history/

http://joserizal.nhcp.gov.ph/Biography/man_and_martyr/chapter14.htm

The Bare-naked Truth on Self-Expression

News, Events and Second Glances

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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?