Uncategorized, Uniquely Deep

My Perplexing Unedited Thoughts & an Apple

“Blessed are those whose ways are blameless, who walk according to the law of the Lord. Blessed are those who keep his statutes and seek him with all their heart— they do no wrong but follow his ways. You have laid down precepts that are to be fully obeyed. Oh, that my ways were steadfast in obeying your decrees! Then I would not be put to shame when I consider all your commands. I will praise you with an upright heart as I learn your righteous laws. I will obey your decrees; do not utterly forsake me. How can a young person stay on the path of purity? By living according to your word. I seek you with all my heart; do not let me stray from your commands. I have hidden your word in my heart that I might not sin against you.”

Psalms 119:1-11

And so, history will repeat itself and we are the authors of the story of a chaotic nation.

The pride of “we know more than you” and the re-interpretation of history and logic is getting us nowhere. Refusing the past yet placing it in the forefront. Demanding the rights of some while denying the rights of others. The “Understanding” of anger while excusing the “law breaking actions”. The sins of a few are now the sins of the group “via association”.  Words of hope and truth now being questionable, assumed as words of lies and doubts. The stories of the past being re-written to suit. Constantly judging, labeling and bullying into submission.  We called that “Woke”. “Woke” to what? (I wonder if that is how Eve felt when she took a bite of the apple).

Along with the crowds of anger and hate, Young Christians have become defiant in their supposed “woke” state, hurling insults and disrespect, forced arguments and more to the older Christians. Sometimes is the “progressive Christians” vs the “conservative, biblical Christians.” Some are written in a “respectful” manner, logically thought through. That is helpful but as one reads on and sees that it is all one sided you would think it is just simply passive aggressiveness. Some overlook the stories of others that may prove they are insufficient or incorrect causing a behavior of superiority instead of, “huh… I didn’t think about that or knew about that.” Refusing to take into consideration other views. Manipulation is becoming a tool, leading to bullying and insulting. Many people’s voices are now being quenched, even by friends and family members. The Christian community is losing their unity and with it their message of Christ. Christ is now seen by some, as a Christ who was crucified because of his race, because he wasn’t like everyone else and so on. The purpose of the crucifixion now rewritten and passed on as gospel is to justify the evil acts of today.

What concerns me more is that the enemy is taking advantage of the anger, naivetes, the re-interpretation of the Bible and wrong is right and the right is wrong ideas, the “gray” culture that we have allowed him to pave around us, to turn people into anger and eventually hate. Then we find many, little by little, falling for an ideology not realizing who they are in bed with. Walking on this very thin ice that seems to be breaking around them, maybe even around us, is my greatest fear. Little by little the 10 commandments, God’s precepts and law, and His righteousness seems to fade away. We get caught up in an area that seems to be only one way out. The thing is there isn’t just one way, there are always choices. Yet we are forced to be, or blindly, carried by the current of hate and if we don’t fight against it we will all be lost.

Photo by Toni Cuenca on Pexels.com

This “woke” ideology is creating a dividedness full of anger and hate. Placing brothers and sisters against each other. The ONE NATION UNDER GOD is falling apart. And I ask myself, is this “woke” from God. I doubt, for God does not create hate, violence and dividedness. He creates unity. If people will only STOP and just sit back and find UNITY under God once again. As history shows, revolution will be in our hands and many Christians be part of those who carry the blood of the innocent on their hands. Because we were led astray by a group who so desires to bring about the destruction of this government to enact their own laws which slowly will lead to the loss of our civil rights and liberty. So they say they fight for “freedom”, for “rights. Remember, Satan also told Eve the “truth” in the garden… it sure sounded GOOD. Eve and Adam also “Woke” when they took a bite of the apple after given the “truth” by the serpent. Apparently their “Eyes being opened” was not what GOD intended nor wanted for them.

Is this ideology against God’s precepts? If the ideology is to reinforce the unity under God, then definitely not. However the root of those behind it, the anger and hate, responses, actions and more of others tells me that their motive is not to strengthen a nation under God but on the contrary, they aspire to create a nation WITHOUT God. Be fearful, be careful, for they are wolves among sheep and they are looking to devour and we are letting them in the pursuit of “justice”.

As Wesley expressed to his Methodist friends in the colonies before the American Revolution, “Be no longer dupes of designing men! I do not mean any of your countrymen in America; I doubt whether any of these are in the secret. The designing men, the Ahithophels, are in England; those who have laid their scheme so deep, and covered it so well, that thousands, who are ripening it, suspect nothing at all of the matter.” …”They love neither England nor America but play one against the other, in subserviency to their grand design to overturning the English government.”https://www.jstor.org/stable/3164266, pg 321. Though he strongly believed in the civil rights and religious freedoms he feared the onset of a revolution, the effects on England and the destruction of the monarchy. He insisted on a mediator.

We are being “duped” by a group who neither loves the Blacks nor the “Whites” (however you want to group people), the minority nor the majority. We are being duped by a group that all they want to do is to make this country their own, with their own agendas and the constitution will be nulled and void. The values and dreams, a thing of the past and our liberties a story told to children at night like many countries around the world have seen. “One Nation Under God” will be as it was in the planet of the apes, a history of long ago with humanity enslaved.

We all want so bad to help so we decide to join the movement not realizing that the apple has been poisoned or that this is the tree we aren’t supposed to touch.

Instead we ought to pray, pray and demand for a moderator, someone to speak for both sides. We need a win-win solution to UNITE us back again in finding a resolve that will not lead us to a death of our country, liberty and rights. We can not fall into the repeated, bloodshed, and dividedness of history. We must stand UNITED without a win-lose or compromise but a win-win. We must see past ourselves and see what the enemy does not want us to see. We must humble ourselves, see each other through the heart of God who is Jesus Christ. We must stand for UNITY. (Is in the name “United States”). We should not go backwards in history but forward. We must stand our ground faithfully holding on to Christ. Using our Wesleyan quadrilateral as our format for decision making: Scripture, Experience, Tradition & Reason. We must continue to live the great commission that Christ has impart us. Being a beacon of HOPE and striving for peace. Asking for WISDOM like King Solomon and not being impetuous in our action but living the Fruits of the Spirit.

There are so many ways to help. Being part of a solution, not a verbal one, but as Paul said, live among the people. Teach, love, help encourage and more. Introduce Jesus to them, help them find peace by granting grace. Help them forgive by forgiving. Helped them love like Jesus by being Jesus. Let us be Like Jesus of the Bible, not the progressive Jesus that many want us to believe in. Help them find the Uniqueness that only God created them to be.

Just…Don’t bite the apple.

Uniquely Mi Vida

Confounded by Culture

A nation’s culture resides in the hearts and in the soul of its people.” -Mahatma Gandhi

I was 7 years old and we had just arrived in the “mainland”from the Island. More specifically, we had arrived at Texas. As I walked out of the airplane it was night already, and I was freezing. The thin jackets from Puerto Rico couldn’t stand up to the cold of south Texas. I tried to stay warm standing close to Mom with her arms wrapped around me. It was November, and I was excited and scared at what was to come. I was soon embraced by my first real coat, and Dr. H.O. Espinoza, whom came to be like my “grandfather.”

recien llegamos a San Antonio 1977
Our Recent arrival to San Antonio (recien llegamos a San Antonio)

We had been in the mainland of the U.S.A. for approximately a week, and we were getting ready to celebrate Thanksgiving. At the time my understanding was that we were having a huge meal with other pastors and their families at the Espinoza’s home, where we were staying temporarily until our own house was ready. I came into the dining room area where tables had been setup with all kinds of food. My curiosity of what we were having got the best of me. Asking constantly, “what is that?” I came to the giant bird on the table.My eyes were amazed at its size. My mother came over and I looked up and exclaimed with my unbelievable amazement, “Mami the chickens here are HUGE!” 😆 She looked at me with the eyes of a mother and smiled hugely, “Mamita, that is not a chicken. It is a turkey.” Then she carefully laughed…  🤔 I was confused, and could only say, with a bit of disappointment, “Then what is a turkey?” She tried to explain to me, and then left to obviously go to tell Sister Espinoza what had transpired. Bro. Espinoza heard of my confusion so he pulled me aside and not only showed me pictures of a turkey, but introduced to me the story of the first pilgrims in America.  And here I thought we were simply having a special meal to give thanks to God for all that He had provided. 👼 Little did I know that there was a whole historical story behind it.

Next thing I know, I was learning songs about someone named Rudolf with a red nose and Dashing who throws the snow at who knows who (and why are we singing about someone being so mean? And wouldn’t snow hurt somebody? I heard it was cold like ice?) … and the more I was introduced to the stories of American Christmases I wondered, wow I didn’t know the reindeer were animals that could fly with names even. 😲And they told me unicorns🦄 didn’t exist.. Thank goodness to all those movies that set the record straight for me, and explained all the songs… except about this “Dashing” kid…and this horse that opens something called “slay.” (Shamefully, I didn’t get the story straight until I dared to ask 3 years later🤦‍♀️.)

..And while many celebrated Santa, we celebrated the birth of Christ, which apparently Santa celebrated in a different way here in the USA. Then, while the songs of Christmas faded in the background and people put away their lights and trees, in came the new year and our tree was still up, as it is for all Puerto Ricans. For us, Christmas was not over. We waited patiently for the coming of the “3 Magi Kings” (As some call it “epiphany.”), who delivered gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh to the infant Jesus. Though the kids at school made fun of the 3 kings and their story, and I felt sorry for them because I got more gifts… not once but TWICE. That’s right, on the eve of Jan.6, good boys and girls in Puerto Rico, gather grass and water for the camels,write a letter to the kings and in the morning we have MORE presents. 🤗

          When Todd and I were engaged, I introduced him to our way of celebrating Christmas. raqui blog pic002We married soon after Christmas day and made a decision to include both cultures. ✨Though the stories of Frosty and the red-nosed reindeer were not on my top 10, not even my top 100, I conceded to allow my kids hear the stories, take a photo with Santa, and open at least 2 presents on Christmas morning and sing the solemn Christmas, English music. In exchange, Todd (and the girls), had to hear “parranda” music, eat pasteles, lechon, flan and more, celebrate 3 Kings Day, and join in the parrandas and trullas, the real way to go “caroling”. (Of course to do that you would have to be among Puerto Ricans and be willing to stay up way past bedtime and eat during the night). In many ways, my daughters got an extended Christmas and different celebrations for almost 2 months. Eating different things for Thanksgiving, opening presents the night before Christmas from each other (like we did growing up), then in the morning from “Santa,” and then on Jan. 6, the ones from the 3 kings. It wasn’t easy combining it (and budgeting for it)… but we did it. We added a 4th aspect to our family traditions, the American “Black Friday” sales… which started with us getting presents for hundreds of other children which eventually led to teaching our girls the importance of giving with joy and love. (I was co-director of a compassionate ministry center and it this was a part of our Christmas assistance program I was God-led to create, called “Gift of Hope” in 2004.) It wound up being a budget friendly way to do all the gifts and a late night (early morning) of fun for all. It was always funny to see the reactions of the Walmart cashier as she wondered why anyone would by ten of the same board game,or have 4 carts loaded with kids toys. It was always a joy to be able to tell them we were wisely using donated money to get as many presents for poor children as we possibly could.

Missing the pasteles but still enjoying a mixture of Puerto Rican food and american. (Roasted pork, rice w/piegon peas, tostones, rolls and greenbreans)

 Yes, Thanksgiving and Christmas are BIG in our house. With the uniqueness of the American traditions, (did I mention learning how to bake pumpkin pies and Christmas cookies?😉) and the uniqueness of the Puerto Rican ones. We have created a colorful mix of cultural celebrations. When others thought that our cultures clashed, we were enjoying the colorful mixture they create. It is a joy to find ways to celebrate, and yet find the biblical perspective of them. We have opted out of some cultural celebrations because they are not compatible with our subculture that we share, Christianity. We see the uniqueness of others and the stories behind them, and based on these we add them in. So no, Peter Cottontail does not come through our home… (I said it when I first heard about it, age 7, and I will say it again, a rabbit should NOT be laying eggs… that is just wrong!), nor do we bother much with Halloween except when the girls were little, and dressed up as princesses to pass out candies and share the love of God.

           It is the mixtures of cultures and their traditions that, when they seem to clash, their combination makes our family culture unique. From the New years and Easters, to the 4th of July celebrations, to quinceañeras (sweet “15” instead of “16), to Thanksgiving, Christmas and more, it is this unique cultural traditions that have made our Home joyous. Figuring out how to celebrate is not that easy, but knowing the story behind the traditions and celebrations certainly helps. It is the story that makes them worthwhile and as unique as the celebration itself. So, for Thanksgiving, we will have our turkey on Thursday with our American family and then have a Puerto Rican dinner, including “lechon asado”(roasted pork), with my side of the family.

         During this holiday season, I encourage you to find those traditions that make your culture unique. You can even add your own family traditions into the mix. Teaching and learning celebrations that others around you have is fun to do as well. You may not celebrate it, but you can learn about it. History is full of traditions and every culture has those that have been around for 100’s of years. Every culture has its unique traditions and celebrations and many are family fun. So next time you hear Puerto Ricans“caroling” at your neighbors doors at 2 A.M., don’t huff and puff and call the police, instead pick up any instrument you have, and join them… believe me, it is fun plus, you get to eat… again. It is so unique!

To celebrate with my people and see how we do “trillos” (parrandas during the nights) click here