stuff I could use help with

  • The Gathering always could use prayer and support
  • I need support for the $1,800 mission trip to Wales in August
  • Thank God that I found a cheap place to rent!
  • Thank God that I have an awesome job now!

Monday, February 26, 2007



I just put a video on the bottom of this page.

But before you view it you must view this disclaimer:

The author of this website is not bias in any way against charismatics but has been a part of several charismatic churches. (that part is true) In posting the video below he does not, in any way intend for viewers to laugh, poke fun, and/or enjoy the video. In the same way no minor is to attempt anything seen in the video without adult supervision. View at your discretion.

Thursday, February 22, 2007

No Cocoa


I don't know if anyone will read this...

So I really don't feel bad if I ramble on like an idiot.

I just finished some hot cocoa

It's kind of sad, looking at that empty styrofoam cup...

sitting there...all alone...poor thing...

It's all gone! Why!!!!

I think I've snapped.

It's all that stress man!

I'm working on raising money for the Mission trip to Whales,

I still don't have a job yet, or a place to rent, and


My Hot cocoa is GONE!!!


So if anyone is out there,

I need help...but don't send the men in white coats.

I don't look good dressed in white and hugging myself.

Plus, those rubber walls are so hard to decorate,

I can never find anything that will match that whole off-white look.

And you can't hang anything on them, they're...


Monday, February 19, 2007

An Advertising Nightmare

The following is a true story:
A few months before I moved here, I worked for a roofing company. My job was to drive around a neighborhood, and go up to the houses with bad roofs. I would ring the doorbell and try to talk the homeowner into getting an estimate on how much it would take to fix his/her roof.

One day I was in my supervisor's (Rick's) truck with my co-worker and we were taking turns going up to houses. We were idling down some street when a half-acre forest (with a decrepit roof protruding from the foliage) comes into view. Though it was my turn I did not give the property a second thought. (If a homeowner doesn't care about his home, why would he buy a new roof to put on his jungle?)

To my dismay Rick begins to slow to a stop in front of the amazon. I asked if they had a machete but apparently that's not standard equipment for the advertising business.

As I approach the property a thin, beaten path comes into view. Careful, to avoid snakes and leeches I inch down this beaten path. As I near the house a green, screened in porch comes into view. It was not painted green, but green from fungus growth. A few feet later I saw a person's figure, watching a 6" TV. I approach the door and begin to give my sales pitch. Though he shot me down I asked if I could leave him some info. The figure stood up from the stool and began to open the screen door.

Slowly, this man come into view and I became petrified. He was a tall, lanky, pale, caucasian, male. He seemed as though he had not shaved for weeks and the only thing clothing him was the blanket that (Thank GOD!) he held, with one hand on his crotch.
"Thank ya kindlay," he said with a thick southern drawl.
I felt like I was in the movie Diliverance! Suddenly I heard banjos all around!
Rest assured that I darted out of there before he noticed I was a colored rican boy.

Sometimes when Christians evangelise, it seems like we are salesmen for an idea or belief. We give our sales pitch and we don't stick around to find out why they don't care about what we have to offer. We don't even take the time to listen to what they have to say because we are planning our comeback response. If it doesn't seem like we are manipulating the conversation as planned we run like the wind.

But it is not our job to manipulate anyone into accepting Christ. Our job is to live and explain to people what Christianity is really about: love. We need to love the Lord our God with all that we are and love our neighbor as ourselves. And how can we love our neighbors if we don't bother to listen to them with sincerity and planning to manipulate them. Most people in the U.S. have witnessed, the church's actions, at least a little, and many have been abused by distortions in Christianity. How else did "Jesus Christ" become one of the most popular profanities, alongside of excriment and fornication? We just need to show people what Christianity is really about.

Thursday, February 15, 2007

What is Truth?

My friend, John, and I were standing in a line in Starbucks. John was studying philosophy at Florida State. He also was single and had been that way for a while. As we stood in line we both noticed that the the cashier that we were slowly approaching was a beautiful, petite brunette. His mouth spread into a slick grin as he informed me of his master strategy for winning the affections of this beautiful cashier. I don't remember exactly how he put it but it had something to do with "wooing her" with his "intellect".
We finally got to the front of the line and my lanky friend puffed out his nonexistent chest and approached her.
"What could I get for you sir?"
"Well," John grinned and leaned over the counter, "how can I be sure that what you get me is really coffee?"
"Um, you could start by ordering coffee." She answered smiling. I remember being surprised and thinking that this just might work.
"What I mean is, if I order coffee, how do I know what you gave me really is coffee"
"What, you think I'm going to accidentally poison you or something?"
"No, not at all! I'm sure you're great in the kitchen!"
"Was that some kind of sexist remark?!"
"No! What I mean is how can I know that that hot is really hot?"
"You're talking about the coffee. Right?"
"Maybe. Or maybe I'm talking about you."
I couldn't help but hurt for my friend. He was dying out there. Not only was he crashing and burning, but the wreckage from the crash had blown into a million pieces and then been struck by lightning. I then watched as the cashier proceeded to pour a hot cup of decaf. on my friend's head.

There is now a pending sexual harassment law suit against my friend, who, by the way, is still single.

Relativistic Perception vs. Absolute Perspective

We may not all think about truth with the same terminology that John used but we do all think about it. How could we decide what we think about abortion, gay marriage, or even study mathematics or science without having a specific view of what truth is? The two main battling views of truth are, of course, absolute truth vs. relativistic truth.

Relativism dictates that truth is open for interpretation. [What's true for one may not be true for another due to their differing perceptions of the subject. Relativism annihilates the possibility of having the same truth for everyone (absolute truth)].

Absolutism dictates that truth is not open for interpretation. What is true will not change for the individual. Truth is truth, whether the individual chooses to acknowledge it or not. However, perception does have a role to play through the way of perspective. Perception is the way you process the object you see or truth that we are discussing. Now, the perspective from which you see this object, or from which you process this truth determines the different ways one might perceive the absolute truth. An individual may be standing in front of a guitar, another behind it, another beside it, and another on the other side of it. They all see a different part (or piece) of the whole truth. They do not contradict each other but complete each other.

In the same way four individuals may have different perspectives and see (or perceive) different sides of the absolute truth.To the child who grew up without a father, she may see God mainly as the ultimate loving, and almighty Father. A scholarly Christian may see God mainly as the ultimate and omniscient Teacher and Guide. A friendless individual may see God mainly as the most understanding and loving Jesus that was fully Man and fully God. The ex convict may see God mainly as the Savior who came and lived and died for his salvation. Yet He is all of the above to all of us. An individual's past and his environment gives an individual a context and connotation through which to see the world. This is his perspective. Yet through all of these perspectives a whole, seamless, and absolute truth is seen.

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Why I Moved

I'm sure you are wondering why I would move from the kind, warm, and tropical climate of Florida to the intensely cold and windy climate of Salem, MA. Well, to make a long story short: I ran across the Gathering's website and I decided to call Pastor Phil up and find out what a church does in "Witch Town". After assuring me that he was, in no way, partaking in any witch burning, he invited me to visit for the weekend.

I went up to visit the weekend before Halloween and I got to see and partake in, to some degree, all of the activities they had going on. They had a huge stage in the street with Christian bands playing, they gave away gallons of free hot cocoa, and they had a hot dog stand. They also had something called a Confessional Booth out of a book called Blue Like Jazz. Some of the people from a local house church called Sinners and Saints dressed up in monk robes and walked around smoking pipes and burning incense. When someone wanted to enter the booth (or the Vault -the church building in the picture above- which used to be a bank 200 years ago) for confession they would sit them down and begin confessing the sins of the Christian Church all the way from the Crusades to abortion clinic bombers. They would then ask if their participant had been harmed by the church in any way and would then ask the individual's forgiveness for the offense.

They also had a dream interpretation booth. Basically it's like (but not exactly) what the psychologist Freud did by interpreting symbols in dreams, and what Daniel did for Neb. There's a school in New Hampshire called Streams that trains interns in that sort of thing and they send a team down for Halloween every year to do dream interpretations for tourists coming to the "witch city" for the psychic fairs. I saw people line up for hours, in the wet and cold, to hear the gospel in this manner and I knew I just had to come back.

People are drawn to this church because, though they do not compromise their beliefs in any way, they comfortably love everyone, from the atheist to the Witch. I decided I wanted to learn from these people and from Phil, the Pastor, and be involved in whatever way I could. I came home and told everyone that after I turned 18 in January I would move to Salem. Seven days after I turned 18 I packed up my stuff and my dad and I drove to MA.

So, to everyone at home: I promise I won't turn into to a witch. And if any Neo-Pagans are reading this: I'm not a witch hunter.

Monday, February 12, 2007

Cold Weather

Welcome to the Rivera Blog! I have absolutely no idea how to blog and I barely know how to type so this should be interesting. I just need to figure out how to get my ugly face on this page so all of cyberspace can see! Hopefully you will be so disturbed by the disgustingly incoherent babbling of this first post that there will be no complaints in the future.
I'm staying with a professor friend named Carlos. When he found out I was moving from Florida he happily offered the office room in his apartment for me to live in. A few days ago we were leaving to get into his SUV. As I approached the door of his vehicle a horrifying revelation ran through my bones (granted it may have been the 20 below wind chill). The vehicle's door handles were covered with something and I, being the Floridian that I am, slowly aproached the crystal-like substance. I removed my hand from the safety of my warm glove to evaluate the substance.....I poked it.....
It was ICE!!!!
The doors had been frozen shut! I looked at Carlos to see how he was dealing with this horrific scene.
He showed no sign of having seen it. I didn't want to, but I had to alert him to the situation.
His SUV had been FROZEN SHUT!!!
So reluctantly I informed him. He said he knew and seemed very calm.
The poor man must have been in a state of shock.
The next thing I know he is heading for the vehicle! Without saying a word he began breaking away at the ice with his bare hands! He must have snapped. I tried to stop him and bring him into the warmth of the building but it was to late.
He had done it! Somehow he made it possible to open the vehicle doors in this terrifying climate! I could only think about what my family in Florida would have said had they witnessed such a spectacle.
I will keep you updated on any other shocking stories.