*New Blog: The Pastor Swordsman™

Hello friends. I’ve got a new major blog. But… it’s in Blogger :)

With me already so busy and barely able to write, what am I doing with yet another blog? Yeah, I share exactly your sentiment. But this is the last puzzle piece (for now?) to fall into place regarding Swordsman of the Word, and so I’m not ignoring it.

As you know, I’m still establishing this ministry — and I’m in the very middle of writing my new foundation documents — and so the things I’m doing now are setting things in stone and will have far-reaching consequences. I do have doubts about this new blog, especially about my readiness to launch it, but the occasion demands that I announce it now, and so I have.

My new blog is called The Pastor Swordsman, and you can visit it here: [pastor.swordsmanoftheword.com]. There’s no content yet except for the About page.

Anyway, I’ll be sharing my posts there here in WordPress.com, in Swordsman Community, and so you’ll be updated.

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A Vocation That Is Like No Other

Creative Commons License I am an outsider. That’s how I’ve felt — in regards to my relation to the Church — most of my Christian life. Rejected by the world but loved by Jesus, I thought that my only chance of finding a place where I could truly belong is within the community of believers. After all, that’s how it’s supposed to be — an upside-down Kingdom, where the poor, the weak, the broken-hearted, the outcasts, the slaves, and the nobodies are given priority. But guess what? I’ve been rejected in the Church too. Many times.

Is it me? Am I just too different? Too weird? Too deep? Or maybe I’m just too talented. Too gifted. Do I arouse intense feelings of envy in others? Or maybe I’m just too committed to God. Too passionate. Too honest. And too unpredictable. Do I convict them of their lukewarmness? Of their sins?

God knows how long I’ve waited to find the right people… and God knows how much I’ve tried to belong. But it’s clear to me now that, no matter what I do, and no matter how much love I give, I might never be truly accepted in the Church. And that is because of my vocation itself, my calling. You see, my friends, God has ordained it that I, Arjay, would not stand among them — other believers — but to stand a bit separated from them. On the boundaries. At the gates.

I am a Swordsman of the Word, and I stand at the gates — between the Church and the world, and between them and God.

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*Community Blog: Tumblr Version

Hello friends. Just letting you know. I went ahead and built another version of my Community Blog in Tumblr :)

And so I have now three places for the community: One here in WordPress.com, which I consider as the base camp, and one each in Facebook and Tumblr, which I consider only as outposts. You see, once I’ve made my post here in WordPress.com, it’s only a simple matter of reproducing them in Facebook and Tumblr, and so… why not? I only hope that I won’t be penalized (much) by search engines for this, but hey, I never cared about SEO anyway. What is important to me is having those community places where people can gather and learn….

You can visit the very fresh and shining Tumblr blog here: Swordsman Community

Note: There’s no new content yet, only the new blog.

Anyway, because it looked like I won’t be needing it anymore, I closed down my previous Tumblr, Arjay B. Araña. All my efforts in this platform will now be focused on this new blog.

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*Community Blog, Schedule Update

Hello friends. As you’ve seen, I’ve been distracted again from my work in this main blog. I wasn’t able to write what I planned to write, and I also wasn’t able to finish updating my blog posts and pages.

True, as I have announced, I do struggle writing my second essay (and I will probably struggle too with my third one), but it’s also true that my work in my Facebook Page, Swordsman (of the Word) Community, has stolen much of my time and energy — a work that I have had serious doubts about even from the beginning. The fact is, and I’ve known this early on, Facebook is not a good place to build a community. Part of the problem is the platform itself, with its news distribution algorithm. (Unless my content is viral-material, which is impossible for the true gospel message, and unless I’m already popular to begin with, with lots of contacts and fans, I have no chance for a real audience.) Another problem is the ephemeral nature of posts made in social media in general. With all the effort and hours I’ve spent working, I didn’t feel that it was truly worth it, because my posts on the Page were not “tangible” enough.

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A Hard-Won Triumph of My Faith

Creative Commons License Last month, July 12, 2020, marked the second-year anniversary of Swordsman of the Word. When I made my first post in this blog two years ago, I was full of hope and expectation about the blessings the future might bring. Well, I never thought that the next two years would turn out to be such a struggle getting this ministry off the ground, and that they would bring me — in addition to the blessings — much pain, hardships, and regrets. And that is because, in the final analysis, Swordsman of the Word had seemed to others to be much too radical and much too ambitious to be attempted by someone like me. A nobody. Gifted, maybe. But still, a nobody.

What I’ve been reminded of recently, however, is that this ministry is ultimately only between me and God. I’m the one whose faith in him is being tested. And I’m the one who is accountable. I’m the one who is standing before him in judgment and giving account of the things I’ve done in regard to it. (As I have declared in Running this Blogging Race Once Again, the only authority I recognize now for this ministry is the Bible, God’s Word.) Therefore, as long as I’m in line with the things God has said, and as long as I have his approval for this work, what others think of Swordsman of the Word doesn’t really matter. People’s opinions (and people’s obstructions) don’t affect its legitimacy, nor will they overcome its power and continuity.

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*Collections Pages Updated

Hello friends. I’ve updated my Collections pages. You might want to check them out, for they reflect my future plans and the present status of Swordsman of the Word.

Also, I’ve been busy the past several days, not writing, but dealing with odds and ends — so that I can finally return to blogging as painless as possible. I’m nearly finished now, but I need some time off to recharge.

Expect my new essay on the last week of July.

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A God-Centered, People-Oriented Blogging

Creative Commons License Like a farmer who waits for the seedlings he’d planted to grow, and thus I have also waited for my ideas for Swordsman of the Word to grow — under the nourishment of my studies, prayers, and leisure activities. And like an engineer endeavoring to design an efficient manufacturing process, and thus I have also struggled — slowly — to create a clear and coherent whole out of my many and developing ideas.

Despite the sense of guilt that kept telling me that I should be working hard, I didn’t rush writing this essay because of its importance. Because like with my previous essay, Running this Blogging Race Once Again, I’m continuing to lay down the path for the future — for myself and this ministry. So it’s better to be delayed and sure of my direction, than to be hasty and miss the way.

And what I’ve realized is this: Swordsman of the Word is now the culmination of two separate works: (1) the work that God has been doing in my life all these years, and (2) the work that I’ve done for it so far. That is, I’ve been redefining the ministry in the light of who and what I am now as a Christian (the result of the Holy Spirit’s sanctification of me), and also in the light of my experiences and the results of my efforts since I started this blog a year and a half ago.

In computer programming imagery: All that has gone before were only the planning, coding, and testing stages. This is now the finished product, ready for distribution.

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Running this Blogging Race Once Again

Creative Commons License There have been many challenges and difficulties in getting this ministry off the ground — lack of resources, lack of support, lack of humility, and lack of faith. To those of you who have followed my progress, you know the things I went through. And you probably thought — after many months of silence from me — that I’d finally given up. I won’t blame you if you did.

But the truth is that I just didn’t want to proceed without God’s explicit approval, and so I’ve waited on him. Despite all the energy, time, and tears I’ve already spent on this blog, I’ve still waited on God — for him to prove to me that he really wants me to spend a significant part of my life blogging for him.

And so God has. Answered me. Proven it to me. And so here I am. Running this blogging race once again.

My thanks and gratitude go to Dale, my brother in Christ, whom God has used to bring me back on this racetrack. This one is for you, bro.

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*Changes in My Writing Plans

Hello friends. There have been some changes in my plans for writing.

First, about Light to My Path:

As I announced, the purpose of this essay collection is “for us to use God’s Word as our guide to life.”

The change is that I’m limiting my Scriptural basis on the books of Psalms and Proverbs only.

However, to make sure that I won’t be amiss in my teaching, especially in presenting the whole of God’s message, I’ll be using two classic commentaries as my primary references: Charles Spurgeon’s The Treasury of David, his phenomenal work on the book of Psalms, and Matthew Henry’s Commentary on the Whole Bible.

* * *

Second, about Light of the World:

As I announced, the purpose of this essay collection is “to help you know who Jesus really is — as he is revealed in the Scriptures, and as I have personally experienced him.”

The change is that I’m postponing this collection indefinitely.

Why? I’ve realized that writing this collection isn’t going to be just a matter of course for me…. Instead, it will require much time and effort, things I cannot yet give in the present time.

For example, to talk effectively about Jesus’ earthly life means that I would have to go beyond what the Bible reveals about him in the Gospels, and must know also the geographical, historical, political, and cultural contexts of Palestine during that time.

Furthermore, it is unavoidable that I would have to deal with the many controversies and questions surrounding Jesus, and that is already in the realm of apologetics.

* * *

And third, about Faith Foundations:

This is an essay collection that I proposed, but later postponed. It’s basically about the doctrines of the Christian faith.

Now I’m restoring this collection, because it is my replacement for Light of the World.

My present studies include a primer on systematic theology, and this will be my source of information and ideas for my essays.

My main references will be the three-volume Exploring Christian Theology by Holsteen and Svigel. These are the books we are using in Bible school class.

That is all.

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Blogging Thoughts

Creative Commons License This post is the start of a new category for this blog: musings. A set of short reflections on related topics. And I created this new category because sometimes I have many things to say, but don’t have the time nor the energy to write them down as essays. This is also a good way to make the regularity of my posting more consistent.

I am all set to begin writing for the first of the two essay collections I announced, Light to My Path. I am also all set to begin writing earnestly my devotional reflections for Patreon. But before I do these, I thought that I should write first a few things about this ministry. A kind of a wrap up for the months that passed by.

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