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DIVERSITY AND THE BIBLE

In many “Christian” countries like the US and the Philippines, the Bible has been used to legislate sin, to criminalize dissent, and legitimize tyranny. It has also been used to birth solidarity, resistance, and revolution... 
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Recent posts

Jesus has AIDS

If I said Jesus has cancer. Or diabetes. Or asthma. No one will give a fuss. I have, in the past, argued that Jesus might have been gay, a woman, a Palestinian, and an African. But most of us have problems when we hear that Jesus has AIDS. Because we have been socialized to identify AIDS with promiscuity, with illicit drug use, with divine punishment, with sin. And the Jesus many of us worship cannot be promiscuous, will not touch or even be in the same room with weed, and, of course, is a perpetual virgin, and sinless. What is the international symbol for HIV AIDS prevention?
When you turn the red symbol on its side, what does the symbol represent? My dear friends, the world has AIDS. Close to 40 million of our sisters and brothers are living with HIV. About 1% of all our sisters and brothers, aged 15 to 49, are living with HIV.
Since the beginning of the epidemic, over 35 million of our sisters and brothers, each one created in God's image, have died. One million last year. &q…

Parables book now on Amazon!

Reading the Parables of Jesus inside a Jeepney.

Thank you very much for all your generous support. Maraming salamat po!

In its first week the book was #1 in Hot New Releases in New Testament Criticism and #11 in the 100 Bestselling Books in New Testament Criticism.  After 30 days the book was #2 in Hot New Releases in New Testament Criticism. And #5 in Hot New Releases in Jesus, Gospels, and Acts.

During its Holy Week Sale last March 22-26, the book went back to #1 in New Testament Criticism, #4 in Biblical History and Culture, and #7 in Jesus, the Gospels, and Acts.

Widows, Strangers, and Orphans

Most of us grew up memorizing the names of the Twelve Disciples. In the Synoptics they are all men. In I Corinthians and in the Gospel of John they are a collective, The Twelve. Better. 
When we are quizzed to name the best among the disciples, we would probably volunteer Peter, James, and John. Some will add Mary Magdalene. But only a handful would say Jesus's mother in John, the Samaritan woman in John, and the child who offered five barley loaves and two fish. Also in John. 
Yes, my friends, a widow, a stranger, and an orphan. The three kinds of people closest to God's heart. 
The Gospel of John celebrates the Discipleship of the Unnamed.  Whom do we see at the beginning, throughout, and at the end of Jesus’s earthly ministry in the gospel? It is Jesus’s mother. Motherhood is discipleship. For millions of people in the world, LOVE is spelled, M, O, T, H, E, R.
Among the four gospels, with whom does Jesus spend practically a whole chapter's length in conversation, in di…

The International Day of the Disappeared and the Empty Tomb

We, who call ourselves Christian, should not forget that the One we call Lord and Liberator was an Executed God. He was abducted in the dead of night, unjustly tried, beaten, tortured, and executed between two rebels. Then his body was thrown into a borrowed grave. In the Gospel of Mark, at dawn on Sunday three of his disciples, all women, visit the grave to anoint his dead body. They find the grave empty. There was no body.

Jesus had disappeared.

The Gospel of Mark ends with the women described as silent and afraid.

Jesus had disappeared.

Today, August 30 is the International Day of the Disappeared. We are invited to stand in solidarity with friends, colleagues, comrades, and families of the missing who continue to seek peace based on justice, and in remembrance of the thousands of desaparecidos in the Philippines, in Palestine, in many Third World countries, and around the world.

Like the women at the tomb, many of us are silent and afraid. Like the women in the tomb, we want to fin…

READING TEXTS THAT WERE NOT WRITTEN FOR US

Let us get things sorted out first. Historians tell us that the Bible was written in Hebrew and Greek. They tell us that it was put together across one thousand years. Its latest materials is about 2 thousand years old. Its oldest, over three thousand. Take Paul's Letter to Philemon. It is a letter from Paul to Philemon. Paul and Philemon are dead. What we have is a copy of a copy of a copy of a copy of a copy of a two-thousand year-old letter. In Koine Greek. We love reading texts that were not written for us!  We do this all the time. Our spouse's cellphone messages. Or our children's. Literary classics. And, yes, Scriptures. I've argued for years that most people read scripture as windows to the past (historical methods), as story (literary methods), and as mirrors (cultural studies). When texts are read as windows to the past, we are basically listening to the dead. Hearing echoes. We might not admit it but most of our cherished values come from the dead. From dep…

YESTERDAY AND EVERY DAY

Yesterday 76 members of our seminary community, led by our president, joined the United People's SONA. It was, for many, a liminal moment. A rite of passage. A baptism of fire. Actually, more water than fire... And we were prepared with our umbrellas and raincoats. And boots! Yesterday, 76 members of our community woke up earlier than usual, others did not even sleep, to prepare streamers, banners, rice, hard-boiled egg, and Adobo. Yesterday 76 members of our community waited for our jeepneys to arrive and spent over 4 hours in those jeepneys going to and from Commonwealth Avenue. Yesterday, 76 members of our community walked 6 kilometers to be a part of the thousands who protested against the War on Terror, the War on Drugs, and the War on the Poor that Duterte and his cohorts have declared against the Filipino People. 

Yesterday, individually and corporately, 76 members of our community participated in embodying our core values: prophetic boldness, ecumenical openness, compassi…