Wednesday, August 30, 2006


While many people consider heritage and culture to be foremost in person's life, I never have. I think it can be important, but if you live in a unique culture of your own, I think that that influence is naturally greater than one(s) of pervious generations. But it can be a good and healthy thing to know something about your family's past, it may reveal some interesting things about you. That is what happened to me.

Much of my heritage is Native American, from tribes mostly in Texas. The names in my family (on both sides) are Spanish. This came from the 'missionaries' from Spain who sought to 'Christianize' the natives. Part of the Spanish 'programs' at their missions would be to rename the natives, therefore eliminating part of their culture and distinction. They were renamed Spanish names.

Case in point: a grandfather on my mother's side, many generations back was a Tankawa Indian, part of the Karankawa Tribe. Our family has uncovered records from a Spanish mission in San Antonio that indicate his residence there. His 'Christian' name is Eusabio R. Garcia. Along with new names, the Spanish gave the Native Americans jobs and occuptions to hold within the mission. Most would require training, etc. for their respective jobs. Unless the person had a special talent or gift in a certain area, especially the men, they were given laborous tasks.

My great-great-grandfather's name and occupation is listed in those mission records. But unlike many of his commrades who harvested fields, the mission records list his occupation as simply: musician.

to be continued...

Saturday, August 26, 2006


This is absolutely one of my favorite animated films. It's hilarious. Steve Carell does a great job playing Hammy the squirrel.

Friday, August 25, 2006


I like PEZ. Or rather, I like PEZ Dispensers. They're really need. This is one I picked up today; it's Hammy the squirrel from the greatest of animated films Over the Hedge.

I used to have a PEZ Dispenser of Charlie Brown, Batman, and Wonder Woman. These darn Dispensers always have need stuff on top.

Now I'm not like some kind of crazy PEZ manic, but this particular PEZ Dispenser makes me quite happy. Yay.

Thursday, August 24, 2006


When the Columbus's ships arrived in the New World, what they thought were the West Indies, they brought three ships: the Nina, the Pinta, and the Santa Maria. Three ships that really existed, or did they?

The Native Americans (Indians, the explorers' minds) did not see the ships. It wasn't until the Shaman stared for a long time into the sea that the ships appeared right in front of his eyes. Before, he had only noticed the ripples in the waters, but he did not know what caused them. He had to stare into the water to realize the ships were right in front of him.

His fellow tribesmen didn't not believe him at first because they could not see the ships either when the Shaman tried to show them what he'd seen. They only heeded his warning because they trusted him. And sure enough Columbus and his men came ashore.

Why did the Native Americans not see the ships, even though they were right in front of their eyes? Many scientists think it's because they had no frame of reference into which to put the ships, something they'd never before seen. Because they could not concieve of a ship like those of Columbus's fleet, they were visually blinded and did not see them.

This raises some interesting questions for us. What realities exist beyond our conprehension and therefore, beyond our visual acuity? And if we have an open mind enough for look for things out of the ordinary and use some imagination, will we be awakened to other realities? Or am I just crazy?

Only a portion of our brains are used in a way we can consider 'conscious.' True we use all of our brains, but not in a way in which we are fully aware. Take, for example, intuition. How are we aware of things that we 'feel.' There are others levels of existence and reality that we don't grasp or understand. Check into quantum physics if you're interested and want a big headache.

But what about all this? Do our perceptions determine reality? How can a ship that is right in front of you no register on a visiually functional palate? Just wondering...


OK, so I've begun my senior year here at Baylor University. I've loaded up on classes and will graduate in August, as opposed to like a year and a half from now as I was fearing. So, I'll be able to start grad school in the fall. Yay.

It's funny because all that matters now is that really, really expensive piece of paper on my wall this time next year that says I'm educated. I am taking the classes I need to graduate and only the classes I need to graduate. My motivation for taking a class for reasons of pure enjoyment is long gone.

I've got one really cool class though, taught by Dr. Charles H. Talbert (aka: The Beast of a Scholar), it's the Parables in Matthew. But things have just been nuts this week, I should settle into my schedule and get back to blogging regularly these next couple of days.

I've got some topics I've been working on and mulling over. I'd like to get yall's imput.


Sic 'em BEARS!!!

Monday, August 21, 2006


Doh!!! What are they thinking??!!

CLICK HERE to read this news article, and then come back and comment if you so desire.

Sunday, August 20, 2006


Meet Ken and Janette Orr (sorry there's no pic). Ken and Janette love Jesus. Ken and Janette love people.

Ken and Janette joined our family at Western Heights several years back.

But when I look at Ken and Janette, I don't see two grandparents, I see Jesus. Now Ken will be the first to say, "I aint' perfect."

Janette will then add, "Yep, he ain't perfect."

But Ken and Janette are merciful, they are pure in heart, they hunger and thirst for righteousness, they love people. Ken and Janette try to be more like Jesus everyday - I know this because everytime I see them, I see more and more of the face of Christ.

When I look at the Orrs, I really do see Jesus. I see who Jesus is and how much he loves people.

They cooked us hamburgers tonight. Wow. Amazing. Probably the best burgers I've ever eaten. But the best thing about it was that they loved cooking them for us. Ken and Janette love to serve people and they despise any credit for it; they are humble.

It just astounds me how we can see a literal-in-the-flesh Jesus through the actions and love of His followers. And this is what I'm supposed to be showing as well.

Saturday, August 19, 2006

Friday, August 18, 2006


Well school's about to start. It's my senior year here at Baylor. Afterwards, I'm doing grad school - either M.Div. or M.A. in Religion. That's the plan anyways.

We'll see what God has instore. It's been the most amazing blessing to go to such a great school. I've have honestly grown more spiritually, emotionally, and mentally in past four years than I grew in my formative years + high school, combined.

God is good to His children. He wants to bless them. We just don't always want to accept His blessings, because they come on His terms, not ours.

Just remember next time you need God, really bad - He's there - just make sure you're in His will and not simply your own. I've learned that, many, many times.

Dio Ti Ama - God loves you (in Italian)

Wednesday, August 16, 2006


What is the greatest strength of the Church in today's world?

What is the greatest weakness of the Church in today's world?

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Saturday, August 12, 2006


Dear Mr. President,

I live not far from you in Waco, TX. As I'm sure you're aware, Crawford is just outside of Waco, about a 10 minute drive (although you probably make it from our airport in 5 b/c of that snazzy copter of yours).

Anyways, I'm asking you to stay in Crawford for at least a few days - long enough for me to get some sleep. You see, Marine One has flown over my house at least eleventy billion times today, and it has a tendency to fly quite low. Also, the National Guard are constantly doing fly overs, clearing airspace and the like.

I know you've got many meetings and all that jazz to attend to, but this constant coming and going makes my house shake everytime you've got to be somewhere. It's got to stop, Mr. President. It's starting to affect my REM.

If you need any other advice Mr. President, I'd be happy to give it to you - all you have to do is ask.

Yours truly,
Jonathan Cruz

P.S. About all those protestors over here... well, they annoy us too.

Friday, August 11, 2006



Imagine if you could create the church you wanted, any way you wanted.

Put together a worship service exactly the way YOU want: hymns, no hymns, drums, no drums. Are you from Wisconsin? Start Polka Mass! Start a building campaign, ask for donations. Be the next Joel Osteen!

More information can be found HERE and HERE.


Wednesday, August 09, 2006


Waco really is a fun place to live, especially in college. But one thing about Waco is that we have random 'icons' in our skies. Allow me to explain...

Over the Douthit Auto Sales center, there are random flamingos and alligators - no one knows why.

Just over Valley Mills Drive at Franklin, there is a tower with a guy on a Port-O-John atop of it. At night the inside, showing him on the toilet, lights up. AWKWARD!!!!

So, Waco is a fun place with our Port-O-Johns and all. Next time your in town, look for other things that make us wacko, 'cause believe me - you'll find some.

Tuesday, August 08, 2006


I was in a meeting yesterday afternoon, when one of our secretaries walked in and said, "We've locked the doors [to the church office], we've received a threat on the telephone. Don't let anybody in."

Our church has recently lost several staff members, including our pastor. We're going through some rough times. We have problems that continue to manifest themselves on a daily basis. It's funny, but when I surrendered to the ministry, I really didn't understand that it could be so hard.

My dad pastored several churches during my growing-up days. And I remember the problems that he dealt with. I also remember one particular Wednesday night at a certain church that he had enough and resigned on the spot and left and never went back.

So I've understood that working at a church is not always a walk in the park. But I have also asked myself: Why?

Why do I work in a place where God is worshipped and we are receiving threats? Why don't certain people just stop hating each other so that we can worship the one God who made us all? Why don't people love their ministers instead of trying to find fault with anything and everything that we do?

As it turns out, the threat doesn't appear to be a dangerous one. But the idea that a church must lock its doors as a safety precaution is frankly quite disturbing. So the questions of 'why' plagued me.

And then I realized that Satan doesn't attack the People of God when they are far from Him. Satan attacks God's children when they are doing His work and are at the center of His will. Satan has no desire to go after those who are far from God and make their lives difficult. But if he picks on those who are doing right in the sight of God, then maybe they just might give in.

This is why we go through these difficult times - not because we're not where God wants us, but because we ARE where He wants us.

And because of this, we (I) should take joy when times get tough, because that just confirms that Satan is on the offensive because we are right where God wants us.

Amen and amen.

Friday, August 04, 2006


I got a call from a good friend of mine at 1am yesterday morning. She whispered into the phone that someone was wanting to get into her house. He rang the doorbell emphatically and was talking with another man on the outside of the door.

My friend and her roomate-for-the-night called the police but they had not come, so she called me. I threw on some clothes and drove to her house - about a 3 minute drive from my place. My friend had just moved into the house on Monday, but Wednesday night was her first night to sleep there. She's rooming with other girls, but they were not there that night, so she had another friend sleeping over so she wouldn't be alone. I drove over there with my Maglite torch and a whole lot of prayer.

The men had left by the time I got there. We waited for the police to come. When they arrived, they gave a lesson on street-smarts and safety. Mr. Policeman suggested that maybe the people that had come assumed that a previous tenant still lived there.

So, today I helped my friend cover some windows and move some things around, checked locks, etc. Before I arrived, however, she had asked the people working on the house about its history. Apparently the house was previously used as somewhat of a brothel (that's not the work they used to describe it). And the red front door means that "services" are offered. Now, it's completely remodeled and everything, but this still creeps both her and myself out. So we covered some more windows and the door is no longer red.

Simply moving is not a option financially at the moment, but she doesn't know what do to. She was first happy to get that place with all of her roomates. Young people in college are too broke to simply change living situations because of something like this. So we prayed together.

All that to ask you... do you think that demons and spirits can inhabit a place? As an Protestant evangelical (whatever that means) I tend to downplay anything spiritual but the Holy Ghost. But I know that Satan is a real spirit and he does have his angels, as does God. So what do you think? I'm not talking about hauntings, but rather: Can spirits of evil reside in places after the people who brought them in have left?

We prayed for the house and for the people in it now and before. I ask that you please pray for my friend to have some peace.

Wednesday, August 02, 2006


I've always loved the Muppets. Enjoy.

Tuesday, August 01, 2006


I've been working on a book over the past year or so called Pardon Me, Your Heresy is Showing. I think that we as a Church hold some very 'orthodox' (meaning 'right belief') beliefs that are not very Biblical ones. We hold certain beliefs that are accepted by many Christians, but are not biblical at all. So, I'm preaching and teaching an unorthodox orthodoxy.

One of these beliefs involves Heaven and Hell. Christians have been taught to believe that when we die, we will go to either Heaven or Hell. This is not what the early Church believed or taught, and this is not what is reflected in the Bible. This idea was given sanction by a Papal Bull in 1336.

The apostolic tradition actually holds to the idea of an interim state - a state in the hereafter, but before the resurrection of the dead at the Second Coming. It is only after the resurrection that a Heaven and a Hell will be created.

So where do we go when we die, since the resurrecion has not yet occured? The Bible talks about two places where the departed from this earth go: Paradise (Lk 16.22, Rev. 6.9) and Hades. Paradise has no darkness because the presence of God is there. Those who believe in Jesus' Gospel will be in Paradise when we die (Lk. 23.43) - awaiting entry into the yet-to-be-created eternal Heaven of God.

Hades is the underworld where there is gloom and darkness. It is consistent with the Old Testament idea of Sheol. This is where people go when they die - everyone in the Hebrew tradition, non-Christians in the Apostalic tradition. But Hades is not Hell. Hell is not only a place of seperation from God, but also a place of eternal torment - the firey lake. Jesus used the metaphor of Gehenna to refer to Hell. Gehenna was the refuse outside of Jerusalem were the city burned it's trash. Jesus used the images of this fire to show the torment of Hell.

The Heaven as many Christians now know it, as a state of perfection and newness, will be created at the resurrection. This is what is refered to as the new heaven-earth in Revelation. The Hell as we know it is not Hades, but a furture place of punishment. Both the new-haven and hell are future realities. The near hereafter are Paradise or Hades. Those in Paradise await entry into Heaven and those in Hades await entry into Hell (upon their respective creations) at the time of the resurrection.

While this concept is not taught in many modern Christian traditions, it is a very Biblical one. The Bible does mention four distinct places: Paradise, Hades, Heaven and Hell. The Biblical idea of an interim state (the time before the resurrection) when we die is one that should again be preached. Because I didn't know about it either.