Saturday, September 30, 2006

Catholic Cigar Dude

One of my favorite thinkers is G.K. Chesterton. He was an English philosopher, novelist and poet. He was also a devout Roman Catholic, who loved smoking a good cigar.

He wrote this interesting article on American morals, which is very telling. I guess times haven't changed much :

"Of course numberless Americans smoke numberless cigars; a great many others eat cigars, which seems to me a more occult pleasure. But there does exist an extraordinary idea that ethics are involved in some way; and many who smoke really disapprove of smoking. I remember once receiving two American interviewers on the same afternoon; there was a box of cigars in front of me and I offered one to each in turn. Their reaction (as they would probably call it) was very curious to watch. The first journalist stiffened suddenly and silently declined in a very cold voice. He could not have conveyed more plainly that I had attempted to corrupt an honorable man with a foul and infamous indulgence; as if I were the Old Man of the Mountain offering him hashish that would turn him into an assassin. The second reaction was even more remarkable. The second journalist first looked doubtful; then looked sly; then seemed to glance about him nervously, as if wondering whether we were alone, and then said with a sort of crestfallen and covert smile: “Well, Mr. Chesterton, I’m afraid I have the habit.”

As I also have the habit, and have never been able to imagine how it could be connected with morality or immorality, I confess that I plunged with him deeply into an immoral life. In the course of our conversation, I found he was otherwise perfectly sane. He was quite intelligent about economics or architecture; but his moral sense seemed to have entirely disappeared. He really thought it rather wicked to smoke. He had “no standard of abstract right or wrong”; in him it was not merely moribund; it was apparently dead. But anyhow, that is the point and
that is the test. Nobody who has an abstract standard of right and wrong can possibly think it wrong to smoke a cigar.

—G.K. Chesterton

from “On American Morals”

Thursday, September 28, 2006

A message about posting

I recently switched to Blogger Beta. I didn't know what it was about but figured "hey, maybe it's an improvement".

It's got 2 more whistles than regular Blogger, that's about it.


However, THERE IS A WAY AROUND THAT. Just post as "other" or "anonymous", and you can post a comment.

Tuesday, September 26, 2006


Jesus is the God whom we can approach without pride and before whom we can humble ourselves without despair. -Blaise Pascal

Recently, I was asked what I mean in the title by "pride-breaker". Here it is:

Why do people assume they have reached the summit, when they haven't even scraped a single rock from the base?

"Where were you when I laid the earth's foundation?
Tell me, if you understand. - God in the book of Job

Who is the person who is always looking for something new; a new salve for the pain; a new drink for the sorrow; or an ancient remedy for his emptiness?

What has been will be again,
what has been done will be done again;
there is nothing new under the sun. Ecclesiastes

Why do people judge greatness and majesty beyond knowledge and comprehension, beauty beyond measure, love beyond all understanding, by the actions of small, insignificant and sad little men?

"No eye has seen,
no ear has heard,
no mind has conceived
what God has prepared for those who love him" - I Corinthians 2:9

Why do people look down their noses at the seeker; the one who knows there has to be more to life than this? Why do they do their best to shatter faith, hope and love?

For the foolishness of God is wiser than man's wisdom, and the weakness of God is stronger than man's strength. - I Corintians 1:25

Why is the sacrifice of a Lover, with violent immeasurable grace, such a hard pill to swallow?

...there will be more rejoicing in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous persons who do not need to repent. Luke 15:7

To the believer: Why do we cheapen God? Why do we make God about church on Sunday, and "your best life now"? Why do we sell God when Christ kicked the fleamarket out of the church? Why do you make the Bible out to be a book of rules instead of a love story?

To the non-believer: Christ is not in a feeling, emotion, incident or action. He simply is, whether you like it or not.

Monday, September 18, 2006


Today, Chile celebrates it's independance. Chileans all over the world are breaking out their empanadas de pino, pastel de choclo, and they are celebrating the independance of a great nation.

Why does this Cubanito-Americano care about this? Because my beautiful wife is from Chile, that's why! So for her, "las brujitas", La Matriarca (Nanita), la primita Carolita la Rotita, my suegra, and my Nazi nephew (hola sobrinito!!!), VIVA CHILE!

As everyone knows Chile is famous for it's wine. So I decided to honor Chile with some pictures from our last trip to Chile, and a translated version of a famous song/poem, written by Tito Fernandez, El Temucuano:

I like Wine, because Wine is good,
But when water flows pure and pristine from mother earth......

I like Wine because wine is red, sir.
because it flows from the grapes
because it tastes like the countryside
and like the beautiful girl I love.

I like Wine because Wine is good,
because it comes from working the earth
because it gets one drunk when one is serene
and it brings happiness when one is sad.

I like Wine because it's there when you go out to meet girls
and you don't decide to go for her
when it sings about the slice of a spur
or about the petticoat of a girl

I like Wine because it's Wine
and because it's in the cueca
because it's at the road’s resting place
and on our beloved table with my old lady.

I like Wine because it made me cry
once when I went out to drink with my friends
and I tried to prove that I was a man
before my umbilical cord had even fallen off

I like Wine because it hurt me
when I had to forget some time ago
I remember that I kept on drinking almost a year
and I couldn't rip her from my heart

I like wine because it wasn't a vice,
it was more like a lesson well learned
Life asks us for sacrifices
and you can't go around screwing.... Life

There goes death, she's waiting for me,
There she goes under the vineyard
There goes death, she's waiting for me,
There she goes with a gallon bottle

I like Wine because I'm happy
because I have another story for my guitar
because I can sing with emotions
of the things and the people of my Country

I like Wine with the barbecue,
with the potatoes and the salad
with the chile and the peure cuchareao
the delicious one that my mom used to make

I like Wine on Saturay afternoon
and I like it on Sunday Morning
and so you won’t think ill of me, my friend
I like Wine almost all week long.

There goes death, she's waiting for me....

Here is some advice for whoever wants it
You have to measure yourself to drink
Me for example, from my belly to my throat
it measures 6 1/4 litres …
without the bottle
And that will be all

Friday, September 15, 2006


"If I find in myself a desire which no experience in this world can satisfy, the most probable explanation is that I was made for another world." - C.S. Lewis

Friday, September 08, 2006


"Man is a living duty; a depository of powers that must not be left in a brute state. Man is a wing." - Jose Marti

Thursday, September 07, 2006

Building code violations at Emergent Church Manor

Calvary Chapel tells it like it is (for the most part) on the Emergent Church movement.

The emergent church in South Florida is like a Roast Beef Au Jus in Havana -- ain't seen one yet. Sure there are a few guys out there in Dade and Broward who - much like the emo-goth kids on Southpark are anti-establishment - are anti-denominational and perform their postmodern deconstruction of the church with no real solutions. But there are some advantages to being "the last to know" here in South Florida, when it comes to the emergent movement.

Deconstruction is a wonderful thing, because you get to be the guy who comes in and points out what everyone else is doing wrong. The problem is, in the words of Mark Driscoll, "...deconstruction is easier than construction, and deconstruction without a rebuilding plan leads to homelessness."

The "rebuilding" the emergent movement has done is turning out to be some pretty shabby construction (i.e. - looking for answers in labyrinth walking, candles, and cool hair-styles). Sure they've evolved and refined their conversation over the years, but they seem to have been in flux so long that the results are questionable at best.

I'm with the "Emergents" on their critiques. Hopefully, as the thinking of the emergent church spreads to South Florida, we can take the valid points of their deconstruction and learn from their building mistakes.

Here's the link to what Calvary Chapel had to say about the Emergent Church.

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

I'll try to behave, but...

I just wanted to pass some information along.

This is a church in Miami. My sister, who lives in the general area of the church, sent me an email. She received a "brochure" from this church. The guy you see in the photo is the pastor, but, from what little I know, he does not preach at this location in Miami. The service is televised via sattelite every Sunday to different locations from Texas to Miami.

Back to the brochure.

My sister says the brochure had a "tear off stub that you fill out with your name, address, etc... and when you take it to church on your first visit, they give you a free $5.00 gas card."

Okay... I'm containing myself. Deep breath; happy thoughts.

Good. I think I'm okay. Now, please share your thoughts on the subject.

One more thing: Since posting this I read up on "the guy" in the photo, and the church. Please note that I do know his name, and decided not to post it, because this is not about him. While I definitely have my opinions on this issue, my intent here is not to bash this church; everyone has a right to worship where and how they will. I just want to hear what you (the reader) thinks on the subject.

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Lost: Season 2

I just picked up Lost: Season 2 on DVD. There are 2 shows that I watch on TV; one is "24" and the other is "Lost". But after watching season 1 last year, Lost took my #1 spot for best show. I quickly became a fan. This has to be the best, most innovative show on TV.

I plan on getting a Tivo finally, just to record season 3. I saw season 1 on dvd, because I just don't have time to sit down and watch TV on weeknights.

One of the things I like about Lost is it's philosophical element. "Everything Happens for a Reason". There are so many references to faith, God, and religion. I don't know anything about it's writer or creative team. Maybe they're just jumping on "The Passion"/Narnia box office bandwagon; I don't know. But the show is definitely fun.

Monday, September 04, 2006

"I cultivate my flowers and burn my weeds." -- Charles Spurgeon.
Charles Spurgeon was a Baptist/Calvinist preacher from England, who wrote and spoke widely during the mid-1800's. The man preached the gospel to crowds numbering 10,000, and his writings are still sought after today. He was also a cigar smoker and NEVER apologized for that, even though he was criticized for it on a regular basis.
The "burn my weeds" quote is classic, but he also had some other great quotes. Here are a few I found scattered about on the web:
"A good character is the best tombstone. Those who loved you and were helped by you will remember you when forget-me-nots have withered. Carve your name on hearts, not on marble."
"A vigorous temper is not altogether an evil. Men who are easy as an old shoe are generally of little worth. "
"I do not think I should care to go on worshipping a Madonna even if she did wink. One cannot make much out of a wink. We want something more than that from the object of our adoration."
"Must is a hard nut to crack, but it has a sweet kernel."
"The greatest enemy to human souls is the self-righteous spirit which makes men look to themselves for salvation."
Wow! Funny how the recognizable men of God have devolved. So many men whose names and faces we see on books, posters and TV in the name of Christ seem to lack a backbone. When I read about men like Spurgeon, who never felt a need to apologize or make excuses for anything in his life, I can't help but think we need more men like him in this world. Unfortunately, political correctness has not only taken over our society, but has infiltrated our faith. Our church leaders have to worry about image; they need to put forth a good face and make sure they don't or represent anything that is deemed "unacceptable".
Christian men need the testicular fortitude to stand up for authentic faith. We need to look to men like Spurgeon to inspire us to be bold and not shy away in the face of legalism or succumb to reality TV-type feminizing. Becoming a Christian does not mean I have become a docile, doe-eyed eunich.
“Drinking beer is easy. Trashing your hotel room is easy. But being a Christian, that's a tough call. That's rebellion.” - Alice Cooper