Friday, March 23, 2007

Thoughts...

.:Dearly Beloved...:.

I wrote this entry on love, on believing in the best when it comes to relationships with you foremost in my mind.

I don't care about our arguments nearly as much now. All I care about is that you and I staying together because we do love each other. That's what matters.

I just pray you get to read this and realize that I am anything but complacent about our relationship. That's not how I am.

.:Fanaticism:.

As a pluralist, I recognize that fanaticism in any form is, more often than not, a bad thing, regardless of what you believe in. When you cease to question your faith and instead swallow anything that's force-fed to you, you become precisely the kind of people Derren Brown has been trying to warn in his documentary, "Messiah".

People don't question their belief systems when it's actually healthy to do so. Throughout his documentary, Derren Brown talked to a pastor, a group of psychics, a savvy businesswoman, a group studying alien abductees, and a medium, and not once did any of them ask if he was for real, or if it was just a trick.

Derren Brown is, for those who don't know, a magician.

Through simple effects like cold reading, psychological forces, misdirection, and a sheer grasp of how the human psyche works, Brown has achieved what priests, psychics, medical quacks, mediums, and alien abductees have all managed to achieve.

Yet, not one of these people questioned him. They just bought into the deception, hook, line, and sinker. These people endorsed him as the genuine article, without so much as investigating more closely into his claims.

In this day and age, it is a good rule of thumb to question the belief systems you hold onto. Faith does not imply stupidity. You believe not just because. You believe because you have examined it closely enough and you know that it holds up.

The sad truth is that despite the fact that it should've worn out its welcome a long time ago, there is fanaticism everywhere, from people who are up in arms just because Stephen Colbert was given Captain America's shield, to people who worship Rob Liefeld's art no matter how ridiculous it looks, to people who strap bombs onto themselves and run into the middle of Israel, to people who believe anyone who doesn't believe in their religion should go to hell. Fanaticism is a clear and present concern, and we have little means to combat it.

In this day and age, there should be little to no room for fanaticism. I cannot begin to tell you enough how disturbed I am when I see fanaticism in its many forms, and how logic and reason will just fly in its face like a paper plane into a brick wall. Unfortunately, how it should be and how it is are two radically different things.

Here's hoping that bringing this up does not yield to creating fanatics who are fanatically against fanaticism...

.:Here's Why I Brought This Up...:.

Don't get me wrong. I'm proud of my brother and the radical change that has happened to him. Really, I am. It's just that sometimes, I worry about him because his newfound faith tends to unnerve me when it seems he's beginning to teeter on sheer blind fanaticism.

That is my problem when you have someone people seem to regard as a "no-fail" individual. And what I've noticed is that throughout my brother's blog entry about relationships, he has been subscribing to Joshua Harris' point of view in his book, "I Kissed Dating Goodbye". I am in no position to judge what kind of a person Joshua Harris is, but I am in a good position to evaluate his condescending, holier-than-thou attitude throughout his book.

There was a lot of contempt for relationships in his writing. I cannot even begin to enumerate the half-truths and sweeping generalizations he makes when he tries to put relationships in a bad light, and subscribe everything to finding "the one" for you when the time is right.

But you see, isn't that the problem? You can't just say the person is "the one" just because. There is no light in your heart that goes off when "the one" comes along, and acting like Juan Tamad, sitting under the mango tree until the mango drops into your hands does not prove patience in love.

If anything, it is indicative of laziness. Or jadedness.

I will not say sweepingly that relationships of the romantic kind are good for everyone. I cannot make that kind of a generalization because we have seen enough times that is not necessarily true. However, neither can anyone say that all romantic relationships prior to marriage are bad. Why I vehemently decry this generalization is the fact that most fatalists would just say that if you're meant to be, then the universe will conspire to make it happen.

So much for free will, huh?

If you subscribe to the belief that human beings don't have free will, then you can stop reading now because we won't agree on a single thing from here on. If you feel as I feel though, then you realize that even if you believe in God, and even if He meant for you to be with someone, it is still up to you to make it happen. Many times, we've seen people who we feel were meant to be married with the wrong person, for so many different reasons. One of those reasons is because they never even tried for it to work.

If even just one of the two decided not to wait, then all this hypothetical talk about the one meant for you always and always ending up with you goes to Hades in a handbasket. Honestly speaking, that will happen, more often than not. You have people who refuse to believe they are meant to be because of race, because of economic status, because of their parents, and so forth.

Nowadays, you have people who flat out believe in relationships because they read "I Kissed Dating Goodbye".

There is a proper way to take the context of the book, and it's that "there is a right time for everything." However, what may be the right time for us is not necessarily the right time for everyone else. What I cannot stress enough though is that not everyone believes in holding out for "the one", and if "the one" for you is one of those kinds of people, then no amount of fatalism on your part will get you with him/her anytime soon.

.:The Annotated Entry:.

Here's my brother's entry, in italics. Comments in blue are my annotations to his stuff.

"Singleness is a gift. Let's rejoice in it and enjoy its fullest potential."
-Joshua Harris, I Kissed Dating Goodbye

"I have a feeling that a single person who is always wishing he were married will probably get married, discover all that is involved, and wish he were single again."
-John Fischer


The second quote alarms me as cynical when ripped out of context. The first quote, on the other hand, is a nice state of mind, but nowhere should it indicate that not being single is a curse. It's alarming that the conclusion that "being with someone" is a curse is automatically derived from this.

>I could say it over and over again, "singleness is a gift." I believe that we were born single not because God wanted to curse us of something that hard but he wanted to give us something that would be useful. I have just been reading Joshua Harris' book, I Kissed Dating Goodbye (can I call it IKDG from now on), again for quite sometime now because I wanted to learn more about singleness. And, these two quotations above just struck me on what it was really all about. The first one is that singleness is a gift and the second one is that be patient because you will regret it.

I'll be a nice guy here and eschew from correcting his grammar. I need to bring up though that so far, he is on the right track with the quotes. Singleness is a gift (Although not being single is by no means a curse.), and of course, impatience can always cause regret. However, the second quote still sticks out to me because it sounds condescending to people who are married.

I'm the man who people really have a hard time guessing. I'm like Batman in real life I suppose, hahahaha! Seldom do I have people around me who could see me as transparent and can read my actions like a book. I'm the one who does that most of the time. But, the hardest thing most people find very hard to grasp is my view of singleness. I want to be, if not I am, celibate. I want to be single "forever." I don't want to get married and all that stuff. When people asked me why, I always say, "their a pain the neck," "been there, done that, it's not for me," or "I'm too young, after college." These things are correct but it does show that I don't like having a girlfriend because they broke my heart before… that I don't want to feel that pain anymore. Yes, it happened to me before but I believe that it is not the point. As I read through IKDG for the second time, I saw that it wasn't all about the past but the present and future. I began to see that singleness is a gift and not a curse to get out of. I saw that, instead of making "I don't want to have a girlfriend" point as the center of my view, I should make other things in priority. I have a life to fix, a family to be with, a school to finish, and a lot more other stuff than fixing myself on having to be single. There are more important things in life right now that need me than that. I believe that God has better in store for me if I just follow Him.

Here's where we see a clear misreading of singleness. The desire to be single doesn't come from the idea that it is a gift, but rather, that not being single for him has been a curse. The bad experiences he highlights in this long paragraph say it all. He tries to make a save by saying it's not about the past but about the present or the future, but you will see that he will clearly dwell on the past numerous more times in his writing.

There's this mild misogyny coming from the fact that he was hurt before, and it's ridiculous how it automatically means anyone he gets with in the future will do the same unless they're "the one". I can tell you right now that it most certainly doesn't work that way. Sometimes, you can have someone who will never hurt you and will love you with all their heart, but it does not mean you are meant to be with each other. Sometimes, Mr. Perfect isn't exactly Mr. Right.

Yes, there are priorities, but there is nothing that says being in a relationship means you ignore all these priorities. If everything were a matter of priorities, then why would relationships have to stick out when there are other frivolities in life that we still allow ourselves to indulge in.

I find this kind of arbitrariness striking, because it's the same kind of arbitrariness that had Christians pick and choose which Jewish laws to subscribe to, eliminating issues about circumcision and eating kosher but adamantly holding on to the condemnation of homosexuality.

Of course, if you believe in God, He certainly has better things in store for you. But how do you follow Him? Does he just tell you things at night? Does He give you signs? The most vicious of crimes were comitted all because they believed they were following Him. I say that there is more to doing right by Him than just saying without any criterion that listening to Someone whom you can't hear and looking at Someone you can't see will lead you to the right... somehow.


Forgive me if you think that I'm saying this stuff to all the people who are in relationships right now or the people who talk about their crushes and all that. I am not doing that but I hope that you read this. I believe these verses can help me say my point:

Here comes the condescending attitude that really underscores my concern...

"There is a time for everything…"
-Ecclesiastes 3:1a

When people ask me nowadays about having relationships, I always answer, "There's a time for everything and I believe its not now." I believe in God's timing in my life and I know that, if ever God doesn't want me to be single for life, He will make a way for me to meet that person and be with her at the right time.


Fatalism, hook, line, and sinker. There is a saying that goes, "Nasa Diyos ang awa, nasa tao ang gawa", and that is highlighted right here. God doesn't throw away your free will just because He wants something good for you, no matter how good it really is. There is no harm in waiting, but if your only basis is that God will do the work for you, then somehow, you're missing the point.

"Everything is permissible"–but not everything is beneficial. "Everything is permissible"–but not everything is constructive."
-I Corinthians 10:23

I tell this to the people around me all the time, "everything is permissible," as the verse says. But, the question is: "And then? What will happen?" I believe in waiting not because I'm too scared to try but because I'm wise enough to know why. When I have a girlfriend now, what happens next? I have a temporary source of inspiration and satisfaction. And so? What if she was not for me? Then, we break up and we both just left another whole in each of our hearts. Personally speaking, I have too many holes in my own heart. It's a wonder how I can still be alive. But, I bet you'll say, "what if she was the one?" Then, there would be no reason for you to rush it, right? Think of it this way, if she was really the one for you, she'll be there your whole life. Another reaction would be, "easy for you to say, you'll never know unless you try." Believe me when I say I did try and it's neither beneficial nor constructive. If she was really it then you would respect and protect her rather than try to be a sly dog and do everything to make her your girlfriend.


Wise enough? Are we certain of that? Or is it just a cynicism regarding relationships in general? Is this where we see the apologist making excuses for their belief system even as it crumbles before their eyes?

I've already explained how the right one for you could very well end up with the wrong one for her, simply because you let it slip you by. In an ideal world, they will always be there. But this isn't an ideal world. This is reality, and the reality is that the right one for you is someone you have to earn, not someone God will just hand to you on a silver platter.

Furthermore, breaking up doesn't always mean "leaving a hole in each of our hearts". We have exes who ended up friends, exes who get back together, exes who found out that this relationship was what one needed to realize he was gay. It's not always a sad ending, and even if I have yet to experience an amicable breakup, I realize that bad break-ups are not always the norm.

And puh-lease. Just because you want to be in a relationship with someone does not mean you are being a "sly dog", whatever that means.

Maybe you're right in that it's not time for you to have a relationship. What you seem to be missing is that your time is not everyone's time, nor does knowing when the right time for you is give you any right to lord it over everyone else. Francis, we aren't living in an ideal world. I hope you realize that.

"Love is patient, love is kind… Love never fails."
-I Corinthians 13:4a, 8a

It shows in this verse what love is… what love really is. "Love is patient," I've been saying this over and over again. If whatever it is that's in your heart, you have to wait. There is a time for everything. For me, it's after graduating college and I'm working, when I'm 27 years old and I already am mature. "Love is kind," we are trapped in a system where people say, "if you love me, you would do this for me…" The whole saying that basically says that love is for our own good and not for the good of others. "Love never fails," we can say, "what?" It is true that love never fails and that is because love is more than what we think it is. The boyfriend-girlfriend thing doesn't necessarily mean that love is there. It just means that there is something between them. And when it ends, that's when we know it is not love but just something that we thought was love.


Then you aren't predicting anything. This is all hindsight talking. It wasn't love because it ended? That is arguably one of the most naive things I've ever heard. I'm sorry if I sound like I'm being mean, but this is the part where he completely misses the point of being single.

Is the right time when you're working? Is it when you're 27? Is it when you're mature? Or is it, in your own words, in "God's time"? Isn't this a gross assumption one is making, in assigning a definite timeline to when it is right? That is the clear and present issue here. In attributing something to God, he is beginning to make decisions, arbitrary decisions, based on what he thinks God is telling him.

Again, we've had murders committed in the past all because someone believed it was God's will. We've had genocides, we've had the most horrible of crimes attributed to a mistaken notion that it's God's will. Just saying that something is God's will is not enough justification. He is perfect. We are not. It's not He who made the decision, but us. Therefore, we have no right to automatically attribute our decision to His time just because we said so.

The cynicism in relationships is glaring because the problem is that love is equated to a relationship working out. Yet love isn't always two-way. Yet love is patient and kind, which means it knows when to let go. So how can it just be dismissed that any relationship that didn't work out didn't have love in it?

I can run down my short list of relationships at this very moment, and for better or for worse, there was love in each of those relationships. A breakup is not an indicator of a lack of love, especially when people would sometimes let the other go because they love them too much than to hold them back from something better.


"With great intimacy comes great responsibility," thanks to Uncle Ben I have my own quote. Intimacy is not a plaything to be used when we want to and thrown when were done. With it, comes responsibility. Ladies and gentlemen, we need to learn to be cautious. We have to be careful of what we say, what we wear (yes, even the guys), and things that may happen next. It doesn't take a relationship to be intimate with someone. It only takes days, even hours, maybe even minutes. If we know that we can't handle or we can't be responsible for a great amount of intimacy, don't even try to make a single step. Don't wait until you cross the line, stay away from the line. Make friends but don't put yourself in a position that you know would be difficult to get out of. The toothpaste illustration says it best. When you put out the toothpaste from the container, it would be hard, if not impossible, to put it back. It's also like that with intimacy. We can give out and be intimate as much as we want to but, when its over, we can never or it would be hard to put back all the intimacy we gave out. We would only be left with an empty flat space like that of the toothpaste's end.

And now, we have a holier-than-thou attitude. The whole piece was supposed to be about relationships. Next thing we know, intimacy is thrown into the mix in a throwaway paragraph that tries to warn people about the dangers of intimacy. Where was this throughout the entry? It feels so non sequitur, because it makes no sense why it would be here to begin with.

Like anything in life, intimacy is a choice. I can't disagree with him with the responsibility that comes with it, but this is such a tangent that makes no sense. Hades, the analogy made no sense.


Last thing I would like to say is be wise on every decision you make. Don't be impatient or be pressured.

Francis, wisdom doesn't come in declaring you are wise. Be patient enough to realize that wisdom comes with time. Don't feel pressured to be wise beyond your years.

The right time will come, yes. But you can never know when that right time is, simply because you live life one day at a time. In times like these, I take solace in knowing one thing: that I do not know. I have to live out my life to find out. Don't let life pass you by, thinking that God will do all the work for you. You are who you choose to be. God gave you the free will to do just that. Don't throw away His greatest gift back in His face and ask Him to make everything work out for you. Life isn't like that. Life was never like that.

Despite all this, I am grateful you found God in your life. For now, I can only ask that you'd come to understand that you are a significant and acting part of the equation in your relationship with God.

Your brother,
Marcelle

2 comments:

Jac said...

hello marcelle :) email me your number so I can save it in my new phone

Fab said...

I didn't know this...hehe!Um,just reading up on all the posts that I could see a Francis or a brother there...hahahaha!Hi kuya!Thanks for being proud of me and sorry about the past fights...anyways,things have been a hard hit (if you haven't realized) to me,and to all of us,since two years ago.Hopefully,we get better...I really hope I bring back that old fire in me that died down along with the rest of that cold hearted demon excuse for a lame step father...sorry to rant...hahaha!as if you're not just downstairs anyways...we don't seem to talk much...more on just ym and text...hope that changes too...