Teacher shows video in school and “Christians” lie in protest


westboroSo recently, one of my good friends showed a video in school.  This video shed light on the issue of bullying by flipping the role of sexual identities in our society (instead of people getting bullied due to homosexuality, people were getting bullied due to their heterosexuality).

A moving video (I literally could not stop crying after seeing this…mainly because this happens all the time across our country).

Nevertheless, some have taken it upon themselves to forgo the obvious anti bullying message of the video and instead, demonstrate a level of hatred, ignorance, and overall bigotry that is absolutely astounding.

More and more I can’t help but to de-associate myself with a group of people that call themselves followers of Christ.   A group of people who are now falsely accusing MY friend of having an agenda, MY friend of worshiping Satan, MY friend of trying to indoctrinate, convert innocent minds.  These people are talking about MY friend.

Normally, you see things in the news and you can’t help but to think “how awful” but then you don’t give it a second thought.  But here…

Here I have a situation where so called CHRISTIAN people are blatantly LYING about my friend.  LYING in order to somehow protest something they consider so abhorrent to the Lord.  Because after all, what can be more abhorrent to God than homosexuality right?  A sin that is mentioned 7 times in scripture (arguably, it could be less).   But let’s overlook the fact that we are fabricating stories.  I’m sure these fabrications are honorable in the sight of the Lord because after all what is LYING compared to homosexuality right?

I don’t think I have ever felt so sick to be labeled as a Christian.  I never thought these people could sink so low.  It’s my friend you are demonizing, someone I know, and someone I have talked to on numerous occasions; someone who has aspired to be a role model for his students, and who is excited when his students succeed; someone whom I would always label “Ag teacher superstar” because honestly, I have not seen anyone with more passion and more dedication to his calling.

This is all over a video that sheds light to a real problem that is largely ignored due to the fear, ignorance, hatred; lack of compassion and lack of anything that has to do with Christ from people who have the balls to dare call themselves Christians.

When you blatantly LIE to uphold your twisted version of truth, you are not a Christian but a Pharisee.  And so; for me anyways; I see two options. A. These so called Christians, need to stop calling themselves that; for Christian you are not.  B. I will stop calling myself a Christian, for I can’t in good faith allow my name to be attached to such a hateful community.

You LIED about my friend…I still can’t believe it.  If you are interested in checking out the video I’m referring to here is a link: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=c9mA6B1HRKE

I’m done being quiet.  I’m tired of being nice and I’m about to call it for what it is.  The church needs reform (again).  But until that happens (and if you know me), do not call me a Christian until the Christian community takes back its good name.

You Lied about my friend…you know what that makes you? A liar…and that, oh Christian is a true abomination.

Juan

While Arizona votes to let businesses owners refuse service to gays on religious grounds, Jesus weeps


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So in Arizona, lawmakers are attempting to pass legislation that would allow business owners to refuse service to gays on religious grounds, a measure that the House approved with a 33-27 vote.  Of course this is all being done in the name of religious freedom (mainly by conservative Christians).

Can we be blinder I wonder?  How I wish Paul was here right now.  I wonder what he would say.  See Paul was a business owner (he made tents) but in the scriptures there is no mention of him denying service to sinners?

Right? Or am I wrong?

If anything, Paul would argue that we, as Christians, should serve sinners in order to have an opportunity to share Christ; because THAT is what it’s all about.  Millions of people are going to hell because selfish, pious, dogmatic Pharisees are picking up a banner of religion; slapping Jesus on it; and heralding it as if it’s somehow spiritual.

My question is simple.  Is your refusal to serve gays really about religious freedom, or is it about disgust for homosexuals.  Are you so bold as to wrap your intolerant views with the cloth of that which is pure, mainly the name of Christ?

Foolish people!  Since when has Jesus ever cared about such frivolous and un-eternal rubbish as who your business serves and/or refuses to serve?  Does not our God (wait, actually my God, because I suspect, he’s not yours) say “Come to me all who are thirsty”? ALL does not mean “Minus the homosexuals”.  ALL means every person.

You selfish, pious, poor excuse for someone to carry the mantel of Christ.  This is not what Christ would have done; this is NOT What any Godly, Spirit filled Christian would do.  But you do resemble your brothers and sisters; the Pharisees and Sadducees.

May the Lord bear witness against you!  He has commanded us to love and yet you refuse his commandment and instead; hate.  He has commanded us to go out into the world but you lock yourself in a safe haven of religion.  He has commanded us to “seek ye first the kingdom of God” but you seek your rights (as if you had rights), finances, and ambitions.

I council you to read through the scriptures and know how wrong you are.  Repent and come back to the Lord.  He indeed is knocking on your door.

Juan

When did we fall out of love with Jesus?


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As I take a moment and ponder where our churches are making an impact in today’s world, I come to the sad realization that we have fallen out of love with Jesus.  I stumble through websites, books, movies, and comrades and what I am presented with is a love for a law, commandment, religious duty and image of piety.  But where; where is that radical love for a savior? 

Some would argue that some churches do have that love, and that they are going out into the mission field, feeding the poor, preaching righteousness and salvation; and spending time reading the scriptures.  And though to be fair, I have to agree that I do see these events taking place, in my spirit I can’t help but to notice that most of it is done with a blatant lack of love. 

There are people who pompously parade around cemeteries to protest the death of military Imagehomosexuals (or homosexuals in general) claiming to belong to Christ.  But let’s be honest and clear.  You, who do this, are not of Christ and when the judgment day arrives, you will get the strictest of judgments, for your hatred has caused many to blaspheme the name of Christ. 

But aside from that; there are churches who really do strive to please the Lord, but have forgotten to fall in love with Him first.  Sure (here, I speak to the Church), you’re involved in missionary work, feeding the poor, going to church (the building), and maybe even reading the bible every morning.  But does your heart break for people, or does your sense of righteousness prevails against sinners.  Do you stand for what’s right and what’s wrong against those who practice such things or do you show a world; which is so lost in the darkness, One who loves them and can transform them into new creations? 

Scriptures tells us that Christians are to be known by the love they have for each other…but let me tell you, that love is not in the churches.  Not for the sinners, and not for the saints.  Sadly, our services have become but mere social clubs that we have an obligation to attend.  Some of these clubs have really good music and dynamic speakers…but at the end, we all go home to a life that fails to mirror a love unbounding.  

We truly have forgotten who our Lord is; the Omnipotent almighty Father who cowers from nothing and no one. This Father, who has paid our sins in blood; His blood, and calls to the masses to come to Him; we have forgotten that this Father is the one that changes people and that we are but to voice His call to the masses. 

I remember the day of my salvation.  I remember my wide eyed love for Christ. No one had to tell me to start reading the bible; to start praying; to start asking for help with my anger issues.  These things God showed me, through the scriptures, and through loving people who spoke the truth over me in love (not forced it).  But slowly, as time went on, I too forgot my first love.  It started with an over zealousness for the law (do this, don’t do this, go here, can’t go there, etc).  I stopped looking at Jesus and instead looked at the law, which made me look at other things, and it wasn’t long before I wasn’t looking at all.  Now in my 30′s, the Lord is showing me new freedoms, and I cry because even now, even as I type this, I realize how wrong I’ve been.  And I realize that I too have caused some to go away from the One who loves them so much.  

Why didn’t I see this before? 

I’ve been a product of a lie; one that so many have fallen into.

One from which few will get out of. 

We crave the love of people, of others, and yet we don’t realize that that same craving shadows the craving we should have for our savior.  This does not mean that we should strive to be more righteous, more holy.  To be fair I would argue the opposite.  Some of you need to fall and fall hard.  

Why do we strive to please someone whom we can’t please?  Or what, do you think that our righteousness pleases the Lord? How can you please someone who knows the past, present, and future?  He knows your failure and the many that you will inevitably fall into and yet, He loves you.  We can’t please a perfect God because there is nothing more that we can do that has not already been done, per se.  God has accepted us by knowing everything of us, from our birth to our death. 

So, if the love of God is so powerful that in spite of our failures (all of them) He has and will forever love us; why is it that we have such a hard time loving others?  Why do we feel that it’s our job to transform people’s behavior before presenting them a savior, as opposed to presenting them a savior that can change their behavior?  We have it backwards! 

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Don’t forget who Jesus laid hands on…in a forceful but Christ-like manner :)

I leave you with this:  Study the scriptures and take careful note who Jesus directed his strongest reprimands to.  Here is a hint: It really wasn’t the sinners, but the religious leaders who had fallen so in love with the law, that when their true God showed up in front of them, they could not recognize Him.

Juan

Logic is illogical


I think we give too much credit to logic; that small little voice inside our heads that says “things have to make sense”.  We look down on things that don’t make sense as we itch to uncover its secrets.  We mock people who act illogically because after all; illogical behavior just makes no sense.  We have seminars that teach the efficiency of logical thinking; in fact, we have whole universities who pride themselves in churning out logically thinking graduates. 

We vest so much energy into thinking, behaving, and experiencing that which is logical, yet we forget that life is not logical.  The very being of everything around us lacks logical thinking.  Think about it! We have flowers with an incredible array of colors.  Sure, you can argue that the colors are meant to attract insects and as such, bright colors are logical.  However, one question would still remain; why so many different colors?  I mean, can’t red attract bugs the same way yellow attract bugs?  Granted some are attracted to specific colors but for the most part most are attracted by bright colors, period; doesn’t matter the color.  Then why so many colors? 

Let’s go a step further and think about beauty and aesthetics.  Logically speaking, beauty makes no sense.  A car that’s ugly runs just as well as a car that looks good.  An ugly spouse performs just as well as a spouse that’s good looking.  An ugly house shelters just as well as a nice house.  Then, why is beautiful important?  It’s illogical, it makes no sense, yet we admire it, and we desperately search for it. 

Or what about taste? 

What possible logic could taste have?  Food is food.  You eat it and it gives you energy.  Why would anyone need food to taste good?  It’s illogical.  But, I can guarantee you that a good tasting burger is much more appealing than a bad tasting burger (or a tasteless burger for that matter). 

What’s my point? 

Simple really. 

Everything you do in life, doesn’t have to make sense. Stop holding back from doing something you want to do because it makes no sense. 

Who cares?

Do you want to do it? Then do it? So what if some people will look at you weird because your desire to pursue something “normal” people wouldn’t pursue. 

Who determines what’s normal anyways? Society?!  Well, as we can see every day, society is pretty screwed up…I would not rely on their definition of normality if I was you. 

If you ask me, not pursuing your illogical desire is illogical. 

Juan

A Road Less Traveled


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What happens when you live for 32 years and you start to get glimpses that you were so wrong?  What happens when you stand on a platform that somehow has lost its footing?  You realize how much a fall can hurt.  You realize how much you can hurt.  

I have struggled with myself since I was seven.  I was mocked by many for being different, never given a chance to be free; or me.  Few people stopped to encourage me.  Even fewer showed me genuine love.  Thank God for the few that did.  Yet through all the mocking and the put downs, I stood.  

I grew up to be a young man; idealistic in many ways but hopeful in all of them.   It was here that I met the best person in my life.  Ironically; I could not and still can’t hear Him.  Yet there’s plenty of evidence to tell me that He’s real. 

So I continue on this little stroll through a gamut of 17 years.  Some of which were defined by moments which if described would make for a good late night movie (really late).  Yet, some moments were awesome, like the clear orange light of a bright day after a storm. Through it all, I struggled with me. 

Many times, I wanted so much to reach out and say “I need help” and sometimes I even did.  But as fate would have it.  You realize, you are pretty much alone.  Now, I’m in my 30’s feeling as if I have missed something somewhere.  

I think I missed the mark of my life.  And now I want to aim straighter but I don’t even know how to use a bow.  And what’s worst, I have no one to show me.  Thank God for YouTube.  

I think what it all boils down is simple (yet something I have much to learn off).  Many people hurt because they don’t understand this; the deep pain of walking through a life, alone, constantly being accused of being evil, of being cursed.  They don’t understand that hopelessness of coming to the realization that you can never love nor be loved like “normal” people.  But even fewer will ever understand the sheer hopelessness of being hated by all. 

On one camp you have the ones who hate you for your affections and on the other camp you have those who hate you for your love.  You try to make sense of it all, but you end up being even more confused.  Why isn’t this simple?  Why can’t this be a black and white issue as well? 

Why do I have these affections, and why don’t I love the person I see in the mirror?  Why can’t anyone tell me if that person is worth anything? And why can’t I be given the opportunity to walk through these questions with someone? 

But I’m a man now.  Though, these questions are still there, I don’t have the luxury to entertain them.  No, I must go.  I must trust the fact that Someone knows what He has planned for me.  I must also trust the fact that He does love me.  I can’t let the ignorance of those who profess to be victims hold me.  In truth, they will never love me.  Yet on the other hand, I can’t let the dogmatic nature of those who profess righteousness, bind my questioning, wandering, highly inquisitive mind. 

I walk my own path, dealing with the burden of two worlds.  I walk my own path and that is who I am.   

Metro Love


Metro Love

Professionals, students, laymen, and just ordinary people wait for the Metro to open it’s doors on a weekday afternoon. It’s a small testament to the current change in our culture from the use of the automobile, to more “Earth friendly” practices such as taking mass transit.

Lesson from the Samaritan woman


ImageThe story of the Samaritan woman at the well is one that reveals a huge truth that should be a caution to most Christians (find the story in John 4:1-42). Here, Jesus demonstrates gentleness and respect that unfortunately, most of us who call ourselves Christians lack.

To understand what I am about to say, let me give you a quick background (really quick) to this story:

Jews hated Samaritans.

Women were not valued nor viewed upon highly in that time.

Jesus was a Jew.

Jesus was a man.

See, told you it would be a quick background.

Now, with this in mind we come to a story that shows Jesus talking to a Samaritan woman who (as he already knew) has had five husbands and is currently in a relationship with a man who is not her husband.  Now, if you were Jesus, and you came to this Samaritan woman who is in what would be considered a very wrong relationship, what would you do?

OK, hold that thought and read on.

Now Jesus, knowing what she is doing (and has done) asks her for water. Stop right there. So Jesus, knowing her “sin” asks her for water. He does not ask her about her sin, He asks her for water.  I’m going somewhere but keep reading.

After the women shares a comical discussion (in which she pretty much mocks Jesus), Jesus flat out tells her “I am the Christ”.  Actually, Jesus also tells her about true worship and how the Father is spirit.  One thing He does not touch is her “sin”, at least not the way you’d expect.  He uses her sin to establish his credibility but not to somehow tell her “you’re a sinner!” I think you know now where I’m going, but then again maybe you don’t, so keep reading :).

After the interaction, Jesus tells His disciples “My food…is to do the will of him who sent me” and “I sent you to reap what you have not worked for…” In other words, the work is the harvest.

OK what does all this mean?

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Why does this happen? Jesus was nor is anything like this.

As Christians we focus a lot on sin when dealing with the unbelievers or those not part of the “fold”.  We have churches carrying signs talking about how God hates fags and how God hates abortion.  But even worse, we have Christians who sees the sin of a person and completely miss the person themselves.  God does not approach people by slapping them in their face with their sin; as if they can do anything about that! Does not scripture say that God is the author and finisher of our faith? (Why yes it does, it says it here: Hebrews 12:2).  If he is the author and finisher of our faith, does it not stand to reason that he also works to sanctify us?

Jesus is the one who sanctifies us (1 Corinthians 1:30).

But how can He sanctify that which He does not have a relationship with?  And how can that which does not have a relationship with Christ, obtain one if we are not willing to share it?

You see beloved, God is concerned with our sanctity, but He knows that apart from Him we can do nothing (John 15:5).  An unbeliever who lacks a relationship can only act as someone who does not believe.  Is there sin? Of course. Can we change them? No.  So why beat them with something neither they nor we can change instead of introducing them to He who can?

Jesus did not approach the Samaritan woman with her sin.  He did not even beat her with her sin and reveal to her the vile sinner she was.  Why would he?  He LOVED her.  Rather, he showed her who He was and allowed her to come to Him.  Isn’t that what we are supposed to do?

Let’s drop these silly banners of hate and let’s pick up the flag of love.  You know that cross dresser?  Yeah, why don’t you go hug her and love her?  Sit down and have lunch sometime and discuss life.  Who knows, maybe she’ll see something she wants.  And maybe she’ll reach out and grab it for herself.  And after that, if God wants her to change, do you not think He’ll let her know? Of course He will.  But that’s not your job (nor is it mine for that matter).

Think about it.

Much love.

Juan

The truth about a realistic view of life.


ImageYou could argue that people fall within three categories; those who are positive; those who are pessimists; and those who fall somewhere in between as realists.

Positive people tend to live in an idealistic world where possibilities exist everywhere and nothing is really unattainable.  On the other hand, pessimists live in a cynical world where nothing could ever be too good (or good at all) and everything has a streak of negativism.  These two are the polar extremes to the human psyche.

Yet somewhere in between the two extremes there exists what is commonly known as the realists.  These people choose to see the world as “it is” with no delusion of extreme hope for something that seems impossible.  They’re not necessarily negative and their positivism have a “realistic” limit.  Sounds like a good balance overall…

Except for its flawed assumption. 

Those who profess to be realists assume to know what’s real.  No, I’m not one of those philosophers who argue against reality; rather I propose that we don’t fully understand it.

Let me explain

Those who are positive will see situations in an ideal light.  Some could argue that their idealism is too much or unbalanced.  However, when you look at great people in history or even people we consider great today, we find a common thread:

They chose to believe in what was ideally possible, not in what was considered realistically impossible.

Martin Luther King had a dream; a seemingly impossible dream.   But his dream became reality (to some point…but that’s a different blog).  Napoleon had a seemingly impossible dream, idealistic and seemingly unattainable.  But today, we know him for the fulfillment of his dream.  Steve Jobs had a dream.  He suffered some setbacks which made his dream seem like impossibility yet today we know him as one of the greatest businessman ever (among other things).

But here is the kicker,

Jesus showed us that what we understand to be “reality” is probably the worst illusion ever.  He taught us to pray prayers that where seemingly impossible (if you have the faith of a mustard seed you can tell this mountain to move and it will move…Matthew 17:20).  He challenged us to do things that where seemingly impossible (peter walking on the water Matthew 14:22-33). And what’s even more shocking, is the fact that Jesus said, we could do greater works than Him (John 14:12).

If you want to be a realist, that’s fine:

But understand that realism is much more than what we comprehend.  That which is real will always push us to our limits and arguably beyond it.  Realism will always keep us looking at that which is ideal, because the truth of it all is that we really don’t comprehend reality.  We barely comprehend ourselves!  So in order to do anything worthwhile, we have to look at that which we have no comprehension off.  We have to look at the ideal.

Don’t let negativism and “realism” hold you back from doing something great.

You are meant for greatness.  

You are created with a purpose.

And that purpose is not bound by our understanding of that which is real.

Juan Castillo Jr.

School trial


So school has started and the mayhem follows suit.  But that’s to be expected.  Nevertheless, I can’t help but to look around and see these young determined students out to conquer the world next to a not so young, person who probably should have finished school by now.  Have you ever felt like you somehow missed something?  Honestly, in my planned life I was already out of school by this age.  In fact, I was already well established in my career.   What happened?

The temptation would be to feel like a failure.  But thanks to some friendly advice I realize that I’m not a failure.  I’m still punching, writing, hating school, and going to it.  In other words, I haven’t given up.  Ill finish this part of life.  I will succeed.  The key is to never give up.  Never give up.  Never.

Life is complicated… but your life can be simple


Life is complex, varied, deep, and extravagant.  It is all encompassing, vast, wild, and extreme.  Indeed, life is many things which is the main reason why nobody can quite figure life out.  But then again, that is the point.  You are not supposed to figure life out nor will you be able to figure it out within your life time.   This is not a negative fact, it is actually quite liberating.   It is like that old saying “the more you know, the more you realize you don’t know”…or something like that.    The point is, life is too much for us to try to figure out.  So instead of stressing yourself out with this impossible feat, refocus your energy to engage life in one of its many aspects; your life.  Live your life to the fullest, brightest, highest, and strongest.  Make sure that your life is full, glorious, alive, and in motion.  But here is the kicker:  Your life won’t ever be any of these things, until your life impacts someone else’s life; for as it is written, “It’s not good for man to be alone”.   A life that makes an impact in this world is a life worth living.  Seek to make an impact my friends, by allowing your life to be full, great, awesome, bright, and by so doing making another life full, great, awesome, incredible, and worth living.