My Challenge to Religious YouTube Commenters

Have you ever asked a question/ shared a recommendation on a YouTube video hoping to hear back from the Youtuber herself, only to be judged by several other people for your book choices or why your opinion isn’t the same as theirs?
See how it all went down in the comments section video of this at https://youtu.be/IF9wyXW-CxA and my challenge to future commenters.
I don’t mind being wrong, but if the comments are more criticism than suggestion, my limited time is better spent deepening my learning, as opposed to explaining myself to people who are simply in it to impose their own side rather than trying to understand both sides of the argument.

If you prefer to read it in screenshots in one whole blog post, here they are. This was my initial comment for Lizzie:

And I don’t mind further recommendations, but some assumptions needed to be clarified on both sides:

I was even grateful for the additional Catholic sources, but then Tom Landry suddenly comes up with his idea. And if I didn’t reply, more comments along the same pattern from similar keyboard-happy people will start appearing.

So in closing, I leave people Tom with this challenge. This applies to Orthodox who converse with Catholics in a similar way:

Choosing Between Roman Catholicism and Eastern Orthodoxy

I can’t believe how I have spent every spare moment of this day thinking, searching, reading about, questioning myself, asking and sharing on Yotube videos and Amazon book reviews in my quest to find out which of the two is the true church.

I am at work on a night shift as I type up this post, and would just like to end this day concluding that, this is a very DEEP issue. Like, hundreds of years deep. And after everything I learned so far, I am still as ignorant now as I was when I first started wondering and caring about this matter.

I ended up buying the book, His Broken Body, because even if it was clearly an Orthodox source, it was the only one I could find that even attempts to point out the strengths and weaknesses of both religions, and present the schism from both points of view. I also plan to study Catholic sources, but cannot find a Catholic book that attempts to do the same from their end as yet.

Goodbye $40 and any further personal promises of a shopping ban. In my personal journey and constantly changing my thinking based on whatever new truth I find, books are my most trusted companions, and these companions do cost money, whether I like it or not.

And as far as I can tell, I feel like I’m the only 31-year old non-Russian/ Greek/ Serbian/ Coptic/ Arabic/ Malayam in Auckland who actually gives a damn about this issue, has read about the Orthodox church, gone out of her way to visit these churches and speak to their priests, and who is seriously considering joining the Orthodox Church after being open to the possibility that they might actually be the true church.

If so, Eastern Orthodoxy js seriously underrated. No one I know personally even knew that they existed until I told them about what I discovered. And once you discover, there’s still a lifetime of learning that you have to brush up on for you to simply scratch it’s surface.

And even after knowing a little bit about it, I’ve been on a hunt to find three different Orthodox churches I could belong to before I finally found the fourth one that holds the majority of their liturgy in a language I can understand; and this church needs all the support it can get.

At the moment, my sympathies lie with the values and ideals of the Orthodox Church, for reasons I will talk about in another post, but my mind isn’t entirely closed off to Roman Catholicism. In fact, I am reading a lot of Roman Catholic perspectives on it as well because I am trying to understand why they think that it is the Orthodox who are in rebellion to papal authority, despite them making the least amount of changes to the Christian faith (as far as I can tell with what I have read so far).

I already had plans to be baptised into the Orthodox church soon, but at the moment, I think I will hold off a little bit, at least until after I have thoroughly digested reliable information from both RC and EO perspectives.

I was baptized Roman Catholic after all, despite growing up Protestant. Should I remain true to my baptism, then I won’t have to change a thing.

I am on a journey to find God and grow as close to Him as I can possibly be. I am open and I won’t be embarrassed about being proved wrong. But I am really sad at the whole Roman Catholic and Eastern Orthodox schism and its effects on the faithful and potential converts today. It’s sadness, more than the desire to be right, that drives me to keep on digging.

Imagine what our faith would be like today if they remained united all this time? And can we all just move on and focus on how to build a more united front from now on? Jesus prayed for unity even before I started caring about it, and this task falls on both Christian religions.

After considering all other religions and worldviews thus far, I believe that the truth lies somewhere in between the centuries-long differences in interpretations, doctrinal understandings, culture, language, and histories of these two religions.

I was never one to push my views on others, and I don’t like putting others down no matter how different they are from me. But I do care about factual consistency, the credibility of my faith, and the truth. God is a God of truth after all.

From the division of the early church, one group emerged more well-known than the other. And I would like to be equally informed about both in order to understand what really happened all those years. I can see that it’s not going to be straightforward. It feels like going through years and years of misunderstanding, miscommunication, and analyzing where both parties went wrong, to understand why they had to “divorce” each other despite starting out strong in their relationship with Christ and with each other.

There are so many loud and passionate Roman Catholic commenters and resources that are quick to dismiss the Orthodox church and label them to be “in schism because they are disobedient to authority,” but haven’t really touched on why they think they didn’t win everyone’s vote to be the universal and infallible voice of the Church. And let’s not forget that, after they established their authority in society, the Protestants had some really big bones to pick with them five hundred years later. If Roman Catholicism is indeed the end all and be all of Christianity, they should be able to hold up to such scrutiny.

In the same way, the Eastern Orthodox church is like the other brother who rarely gets talked about, even though they come from the same parentage, so to speak. They are underrated and underrepresented in millennial western society and thought of as obsolete, scattered, oppresed, alien and exclusive by the common layperson. But to be fair to us, they could do a much better job of making themselves known and accessible to people outside of their jurisdiction, people like me.

Because we (the average man or woman in secular 2018) know less about them than we do about the Roman Catholic church and the resulting ten to thirty thousand Protestants sects, we owe it to them and to ourselves to examine their faith thoroughly and what they have stood for all these years. Maybe they have good reasons for sticking to it, maybe they don’t. But we’ll only know if we actually take time to listen, the same way we would to get to know a friend the first time or the most unassuming in a band of siblings who is dominated by the rest.

I hope that the two churches unite one day, and be as they were when they first started out upon Jesus’ ascenscion to heaven.

I don’t promise to know it all becsuse I don’t, but I promise to be intellectually and emotionally honest with every step I take on this journey.

“No Credit Card” Month 4

Sorry for the 4-month long silence.

In that short span of time, I have dedicated myself to a whole new religion (Orthodoxy), formed a different new passion (travel prepping), and sucked into some good old nostalgia (Tamagochi toys specifically).

Consequently as a result of those life choices, I spent a few unexpected dollars here and there. So before I go on any further, it would be correct of me to say that the “No Credit Card” lifestyle for me these past 5 months has been a complete fail.

What I have changed, however, instead of living without a credit card, is to start living with no further wants from now on.

If there is only one thing that has come out of all this spending, is that this month, December 2017, I have finally stopped questioning who I am and my life’s calling.

I am Frances Colleen.

Daughter of the God of the universe.

Mom of two.

Middle class, and proud.

A product of love, life lessons, hard work, and sacrifice.

Worshipper through music.

Life saver at work.

Imparter of wisdom to the youth.

Active participant and celebrant of all the fun and beauty this world has to offer, without having to buy them in order to do so.

If I can learn to be content with all the junk I have amassed from the false sense of purchasing power my credit cards have given me over the past eight years, I honestly have a lifetime’s worth of passions, projects, clothes, makeup, toys and books to chew on. I don’t need any more than what I cannot afford.

I am looking forward to 2018 for a fresh start. I have been successful in completing a 365 photo challenge on my Instagram. I will use that momentum to start a no credit card shopping challenge next year.

I am Frances and I am a shopaholic.

I am a living, breathing human being and want things as much as I love people and love life for as long as I live.

But if I can curb my wants within the limits of my cash, I will be a better human being for it, the bondage will be broken, and these past eight years shopaholism will no longer have a foothold on my life.

Last Vanity Buys??? No Credit Card Day 28

After long last, my Westpac Hotpoints credit card is now active. I know I kind of promised that I will cut its microchip off, but I just realized that in case of a fire, a larger-than-life reason to need tickets to escape the country all of a sudden, a zombie apocalypse, or some other life-threatening emergency, I will still need at least ONE credit line going because I have ZERO savings to date. 

Aaaaaand because I realized that it’s *wise* to rack up Hotpoints sooner and faster (130 Hotpoints per fortnight to be exact) if I use my credit card to pay for petrol and work parking instead of my noble EFTPOS or debit card. The more Hotpoints I get, the more $20 Warehouse vouchers I get, which can be applied towards diapers and bathroom essentials.

But being the undisciplined spender that I am, I need tangible ways to keep myself in check. I intend to do this by keeping my credit card hidden somewhere in the car to that it can be used for that purpose, and that purpose only! (Clever, huh?)
Anyway, like I said, I committed a couple of sins that have set me back by $87.96, and they are:

-$55: Samala cosmetics purchase for some white eye paints and pigments (because you can’t make white pigment from scratch. And I NEEDED a white eyeshadow. I really did. I shit you not); liquid foundation (My existing one is only 1/4 full and 4 years old); nude lipgloss (I don’t own any lipgloss); and a concealer (my current one is a shade off, and mixing it with this one will probably make it just right). And guess What? I got a free eyeshadow brush with this purchase. As the official sponsor for Miss Universe New Zealand 2017, I assumed that they made their price points ridiculously high like some of the more popular makeup brands, but I was pleasantly surprised to see that the sale prices really were sale prices. And the items that were on sale, I actually needed anyway! I knew I needed to take the chance. And I wasn’t disappointed. To be honest, nine items for $55 including shipping is just $6.11 per item for four liquid foundations, one eye paint pot, one eyeshadow pan, one tube of concealer, one tube of lip gloss, and one eyeshadow brush. Samala has positioned itself as a professional makeup artist brand. True their regular-priced items and professional workshops have the high end prices, but I was able to get professional makeup quality at the sale price of drugstore branded makeup. $55 quid well spent for this makeup-happy gal:-)

-$32.96 for two 100ml bottles of Baby Bench Lemon Drop Cologne. I wish my beloved Philippines would step up its game internationally and started catering to worldwide customers. Yes we have a lot of cheaply made products, but there are heaps of hits as well. I have smelled many a scent, but the ones I long for the most are Philippine-made perfumes! I searched far and wide for them, and this was the best price for the Baby Bench colognes, sold by a business-minded Fil-Am based in America, hence the exorbitant shipping fees to NZ. I really only paid for shipping. The colognes themselves where practically free (grrr).

So there goes all the money I earned from selling stuff off in the previous weeks, and my $100 emergency fund.

Now that I will have myself looking and smelling the way I want, it’s time to wear the frugality hat and fight my battle with debt once more. 

BUYER FOREVER – No Credit Card Day 17

Here’s something I just realized: I never will be able to successfully execute a 1 year shopping ban. Not because I lack self control (well partly maybe) but because my declared purposes in life involve money. Purposes for my church, my escaping and pooping cat, my kids, my health, my frustration with finding the perfume of my dreams outside of the Philippines, the rearing of ugly blackheads blackheads and the continued stubbornness of my thick, brunette hair. 

-$13.75 cat flea collars x 4pcs. That way I will be on top of it for 4 months.

-$24.50 cat litter. I’m shocked at how small the package actually lasts. I’ll be happy if it lasts my cat a month.

-$24 scrub caps. Because I just GOT to have 5 pairs. One for each day. And the first two I bought were too small for my head. The ones I bought at $12 each were sure as heck expensive, but they are quality and a nicer fit.

-$13 purple hair dye by Loreal this time. Because the purple Schwarzkopf ones just turn my hair into a dark pink. Alas, it didn’t work. Again! It’s a good thing I only used test amounts. I see a future painful expense where I will have to be ordering hair bleach AGAIN. But this time, instead of leaving it for 30-45 minutes as per the packet, I will leave it on for half the day if that’s what it takes to turn my black hair blonde. Because with the state of my current finances, the return of satisfaction on my purchases matters more to me than the health of my hair. For the next two years, anyway. I can’t afford to spend more money on last causes. (And I’m looking at you, hair).

-$13 Biore pore strips. Because my father and I want to start living a blackhead-free life. And at this price, it was already on sale. (Grr. It’s so expensive here in Auckland).

-$11.42 DD really loved The Worst Witch series on Netlfix she rewatched it five times already. In my desperate efforts to introduce my children to my love for books, I saw a TV tie-in one at The Book Depository and with free shipping to NZ, I knew I couldn’t get it at a better price. So another swipe. There goes all my profits from selling my belongings like crazy the previousweeks before.

And the last and most expensive purchase was (drum roll please). . .

-211.67 NZD for my personal copy pre-made preteen and teen youth Bible lessons in a box that I’m sure will last me for the entire time that my partner and I will be handling the youth ministry. I am not a schooled youth pastor and I want to do them good so I went ahead and got this.

So there you have it, all my out of budget expenses in the past 11 days of silence since my last blog post *cries and drowns in her wallet hole*

I realize now that I am, and have always been, a buyer, and not so much of a profit making seller.

So now that my Westpac Hotpoints is active, and once all my direct debits have been loaded onto this card, I will cut off its microchip again and not load it onto my Paypal account so that I don’t end up using it for anything other than direct debits. Harsh? Yes. But it’s the only discipline that will work for me.

And once that is all sussed, I will have no choice but to stick to my EFTPOS cards and debit cards once more.

No Credit Card Day 6

Today is Sunday. I have just been informed at my daughter’s school that her red tights are no longer allowed, plus my youngest has chewed off the fourth batch of nipples from her milk bottles, so she needs new Avent and Closer to Nature bottles.

Hello mall, my worst enemy. We will meet again this afternoon.

I couldn’t resist buying the 3pcs for $2 homemade cookies that my churchmate bakes. My daughters were happy, I was happy. That was $2 well spent :-)

No Credit Card Day 5

The dinner amounted to $33. I’m happy that my former workmates chose a reasonable Filipino food eatery. The sisig was good for $20, leche flan for pasalubong at $7, and a $6 antioxodant juice drink.

I paid my teenager neighbor $20 to babysit my youngest for 3 hours.

I will just have to wait for L’s contribution this week to make up for the losses.

And oh, we just got invited to another birthday part on 12 August. Need to magic one more birthday present.

No Credit Card Day 4

I was so happy to have found a decent children’s birthday gift in my stash today, meaning I don’t have to pull resources to materialize one.

I got invited to a late lunch this Friday with former workmates. I would normally worry about the dinner money again.

I just sold a few items online that amounted to $40. Presto, dinner money. Thank you, Trademe.

To remind me of my current financial state, I got a courtesy text from my network provider that I still owe them $101.98 from last month.

As for that, well, there goes the last of this fortnight’s salary.

No Credit Card Day 3

I searched for my Westpac Hotpoints credit card in vain so I had to get a replacement one sent for $5 or $10.

Bought a $20 bottle of Gee’s linctus for my coughing household and deducted that from my petrol money.

I’ve got a birthday party coming up on 19 August. Time to get resourceful for presents that I don’t have.

Paid my child’s school activity fees for two terms – $70.

I hope the dishonor fee from early this week’s transaction doesn’t happen. I’m hoping I have an overdraft option on my ASB credit card but I’m not so sure. I’ll find out the hard way.

Overpaid ASB credit card. Got $2 transfer fee waived by calling the bank.

On budget so far so good as long as no other surprise expenses come up for this fortnight.

To make my no-credit lifestyle happen, I cut out the microchips out of my BNZ and ASB credit cards and took them out of my wallet so that I don’t take them out with me. The BNZ card just serves as the balance transfer card which I will close once I pay it off. Direct debits go out of the ASB card. The only transactioms they contain from now on are budgeted direct debits and nothing else. 

The reason I keep a credit card for my direct debits is so that I don’t accidentally get dishonored and I have a 55-day timeframe to pay it off just in case emergencies disrupt my cashflow.

But other than that, I have made zero space in my life for purchasing further items on credit. I still have a very long way to go before paying off all this debt, but I’m glad I took the first few steps in finally being off the credit grid.

Life without Credit Day Two

My home bank approved my third balance transfer. :) This time I’ll live the no-credit card lifestyle like I mean it.

Sold a few things.

Payday came this evening instead of tomorrow hence I was able to do the budget early. No surprises here. I must  wait for Lloyds contribution to make it work.

The sale fell in line with the shock of inevitable expenses. 

Just waiting for my last 3 parcels from my foolish days.

I’m thankful for getting through this week alive. Do this for 51 weeks more and God willing my money troubles will be quartered.