Tuesday, November 24, 2009

The journey of a thousand mile begins with... Camfel Productions!

Okay, the plane ticket has been bought so I guess it's official enough to blog about now. 
I am not coming home early even though my tour is done right now. I am going to stay in Irwindale (probably doing office work and local/Northern Cal shows) until December 19. Then on December 19 I will fly to South Dakota where my tour partner for next semester, Katey, will pick me up from the airport. I guess we will finish up the tour in South Dakota on Dec. 23, then make a 14 hour drive (or split it between the 23rd and 24th) back to my house where my parter will drop me off then drive another four hours to her house to be home on December 24th.
Then on January 24th, she will pick me up at my house and we will start our tour in the MIDWEST!!!! Woohooo!!!! Our first show will be in Illinois. Works for me. :-)

So guess what! Yesterday, I went to a Chinese church. :-) Michelle and I are still in the San Jose/Santa Clara area and so Saturday night I was looking for a church and I found one that sounded cool. It was called River of Life Christian Church. The website had Mandarin Characters on it but it was also in English and had an English service so i thought, "Cool".  Then Michelle and I showed up and all we saw were Chinese people and Michelle mused aloud as to whether we would be the only white people there.  We weren't. There were like... 4 others, but I thought it was an incredibly neat experience to go to this church. I think it had over 1000 people there. I kind of wanted to sit in the service where the preacher was speaking mandarin (I'm kind of afraid i'm saying/spelling that wrong) just to see how different the worship style and service style is.
Anyway, while we were in the English service they asked all the new people to raise their hand, so I did and everyone came and greeted Michelle and I and shook our hands and gave us a welcome packet. I loved how friendly they were, and I wasn't the least bit uncomfortable being one of the few "white" people in the midst of so many Asians. It was AWESOME!

Well, that's all I have for an update today. :-)

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Sunshine makes me happy, but then again, so does snow.

Well, I suppose I am due for an update. Right now I am in Santa Clara, CA (San Jose, too) at the Hilton Inn (ooh la la, God Bless Priceline.com).  I saw New Moon tonight, and though I have the regular complaints people who read books before they see the movies have, I thought it was actually pretty decent, which I thought was hilarious considering everyone else I know seemed to hate it. It was okay.  I don't think they will ever capture the true dynamics of Edward and Bella's relationship, but oh well, right?
After I saw it though, I kind of regretted it a little because I remember how I felt after reading the book, and i don't want to open up that can of worms again.  Well, too late.

Anyway. Things have been going well. My tour in the Northwest with Camfel Productions is coming to an end, so my tour partner, Michelle, and I are heading back to the Los Angeles where the office is until the company makes a final decision on what they are going to do with us.  I would love to say what they're considering, but since it's still up in the air, I wont.  I am pretty sure though, that I will tour the midwest next semester, and that my new partner will be Katey. :-)  The tour will start later though, like January 25th or 26th, so i will have an extended break. Yay!

So... November 18 was my older brother's Birthday (Josh). He turned twenty-five. November 18 also happened to be the day my nephew Dominic was born! This is Eric's son. (Paternity test pending?)

In other news I've had another dream about my cat that dissappeared back in July. I dreampt that my mom found her in Iowa and brought her home, but then she got out of the car and disappeared again. It made me sad. I cried and the whole day I felt depressed.

I love moments by myself where I can sit and be quiet. Maybe I'll take some time to be still and know that God is God tomorrow (or today, since it's after 1am here)

That's all for now.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

While I was sleeping...

Okay, so I tried to send a  blog update from my phone and it posted as 12 different blogposts, but I've corrected it.

I am sitting in a mall right now, glad to be out of the hotel and enjoying being by myself. But right now i'm left to my thoughts and they are bothering me.
I found out this morning that an old class mate from Buffalo High School died on Tuesday night.
One of my friends just found out that one of her parents is seriously ill right now.
One of my cousin's is being held on false charges of child abuse until further notice.
My brother's baby might be born at any time or it just might be false labor, we don't know.
And I'm dealing with some pain from a pulled muscle in my back/hip.
All things considered I know that I am blessed beyond measure. There is good and bad in life and i feel removed from all of it, yet very close to it at the same time.
I've been thinking about everything that happens while I'm sleeping and my role as a christian.

While I was sleeping tuesday night and last night a family was watching one of thier own step into eternity.
A friend was struggling with the question of whether she will lose her dad.
A young girl was anticipating the birth of her first child and experiencing possible pains of labor.
And a father is sitting in jail wondering why someone would accuse him of beating a child he loves.
While I was sleeping the world was turning and people's lives went on. I don't want to be removed from peoples lives. I want to enter into their joys and pains even when i'm not present with them. While I was sleeping I could have been praying or encouraging them on the phone or just writing letters. I will get my rest but may the world never find me sleeping again.

Saturday, November 7, 2009

If God is so merciful then why does He allow people to go to Hell?

Early this afternoon I went to Barnes and Noble with my work partner, Michelle. We spent a couple of hours there and during that time I picked up a book from the Christian Inspiration section and read it. (yeah, pretty much the whole thing excluding the authors notes and stuff in the back of the book.) It was called  Nine Days in Heaven. I've read 90 Minutes in Heaven and 23 Minutes in Hell, and though the books were an interesting look at Heaven and Hell neither of them really resonated with me, so when I saw this title it didn't really strike much interest in me, but I did want to see if it was any different from the other two books, so I read the back cover and found myself intensely curious.

This was the descriptions for those who want to know what struck my curiosity: "Marietta Davis fell into a trance at age twenty-five that lasted nine days. She experienced a vision that made her a legend. When she finally regained consciousness she described with extraordinary graphic detail scenes of how angels had conducted her spirit to heaven and hell. Marietta made it clear that her vision was given for her to tell the world so people could prepare for the afterlife."

While I was reading I was given many things to think about, but I think none of them came so strongly as the idea of a merciful God sending people to Hell.  We can give the tired old arguments (though very valid) of sin and holiness and the fact that sin and holiness cannot dwell together, but I'm not sure those answers can really satisfy the question when it's centered around mercy. Anyway, as I was reading it dawned on me that the fact that God does allow people to go to Hell proves His mercy, because perhaps Hell itself, though it is a place of judgement, is God still showing mercy on those who have been judged and found guilty.

I know if anyone is reading this they're probably writing me off as a complete idiot right now, but hear me out.

In this book, Marrietta had visited/seen visions of both Heaven and Hell (and keep in mind that she is not seeing them as a Christian). Whether she really visited or just had a vision, or even a dream doesn't make a difference to me so we're not even going to question it because I don't think it changes what I realized.   Anyway, she see's Heaven and it's wonder's first and then she see's Hell second and the incredible contrast it was to Heaven's glory.

It was very descriptive, it showed hell as a place where people are given over to their evil desires and as they pursue them they ultimately become a slave to their desires and find them unquenchable and thus live in despair. They live with the knowledge that they had turned their backs on God and crumble in the despair that there was no hope of redemption left for them. In seeing Marrietta in Hell and knowing she didn't belong there (yet) because she was not dead but still had a shot at redemption drove them further into the agony and despair they were suffering. They were sinful and suffering, and their sinfulness bred more sin and suffering, like an endless cycle they couldn't escape. And this was only the surface of Hell.

After seeing Hell, she saw Heaven again where she heard the melody and unity of worship to God in love and found it so beautiful she longed to join in but as she tried she found that she could not align herself to the Melody and the more she tried the more she found herself in her own Hell because she realized that she was unfit for Heaven.  The realization drove her mad because she realized that when she tried to join in, she was ruining the song as she did not possess the holiness or the love that caused the angels to sing as one this beautiful song of worship.  Her sinfulness ruined it's purity.

The idea was presented that when people die they are ushered to the place where there are souls like themselves, so an evil soul that resisted God was ushered to Hell, a soul cleansed and redeemed by Christ was ushered to Heaven. I thought this was an interesting idea in light of the things she saw in Heaven and Hell. Even Isaiah, when he was in the midst of perfect holiness and purity could only despair of His sinfulness and how he was unfit to be there.

It seems that if sinful people who have not been freed from the bondage of sin were allowed into heaven, they would contaminate heaven, no doubt, but I feel that it might be worse for them than Hell itself. In Hell, they may be recieving the justice due to them, but in Heaven they would be laid bare, exposed, not covered by God's grace as they had never accepted it. They would have a constant reminder that they are unfit for God's Kingdom, that they could never truly be a part of it, that they could never take part in the beauty, lest they ruin it. To me that is far worse than any Hell I can imagine.  It reminds me of 2 Peter 2:21 that says It would be better if they had never known the right way to live than to know it and then reject the holy commandments that were given to them.  (NLT)
Even though I know this verse it talking about people who turn their backs on Salvation, it seems to fit that it would be less despairing for a person to have never seen Heaven and suffer in Hell than it would be for a person to see Heaven and find themselves condemned. That's why I speculate that Hell, though it's purpose remains, could still be an act of mercy on God's part.

I acknowledge that I could be wrong. But it was intersting to think about.