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Para kay Jenifer, kay Onesimus, at ang Marami Pang Katulad Nila

19 October 2008, Misang Alay ng Migrante International

Tumayo po tayo ng sandali at mag-alay ng panalangin para kay Jenifer Beduya. Mag-alay din tayo ng panalangin para kay Eugenia Baja, Jeffrey So, Myrna Vailoces, at Evelyn Milo. At para kina Eduardo at Edison Gonzales, Eduardo Arcilla, Don Don Lanuza, at Cecilia Armia Alcaraz. Ipanalangin rin natin ang kanilang mga ina, mga ama, mga anak at kapatid, mga kabyak, at mga pamilya. Basagin natin ang katahimikan ng langit. Iparinig natin sa Dios ang ating hinagpis, ang ating galit, ang ating sigaw para sa katarungan.

Sa mga Ebanghelyo ni Mateo at ni Lukas ay may kuwento ng isang mayamang sundalo, centurion, na lumapit kay Jesus dahil may sakit ang kanyang alipin. Agad agad na tinupad ni Jesus ang hiling ng sundalo. Ibalik sa dati ang sitwasyon. Ang aliping may sakit ay walang silbi sa may-ari. Ang aliping hindi makalakad ay walang silbi sa amo. Tuwing binabasa ang kuwentong ito lagi na lang bida si Jesus at ang mayamang sundalo. Hindi na…

MOVEMENT, EXECUTION, CONTINUATION

Biblico-Theological Reflection
Forum on the Economic Meltdown in the Empire and its Impact to the Filipino People
Bantayog ng mga Bayani, Quezon City, 27 September 2008

THE EXECUTED GOD

We do not need the Bible to prove that Jesus lived, that he was murdered by the empire, and that his followers confess that he is alive.

About this time there lived Jesus, a wise man… For he was one who wrought surprising feats and was a teacher of such people as accept the truth gladly. He won over many Jews and many of the Greeks… When Pilate, upon hearing him accused by men of the highest standing amongst us, had condemned him to be crucified, those who had in the first place come to love him did not give up their affection for him… And the tribe of the Christians, so called after him, has still to this day not disappeared. (Flavius Josephus, Jewish Antiquities 18.63, written about 90 C.E.)

Therefore to scotch the rumour, Nero substituted as culprits, and punished with the utmost refinements of cruelty,…

God's Fart, Our Farts

Imperialism exists when a single truth is forced on a plural world. This is why, despite the fact the women hold up half of the sky, majority of men and women believe that men are stronger, more intelligent, more gifted, and closer to God. This is why, to this day, many churches only ordain men as priests.This is also why Christianity has, in the past two thousand years, killed more people in the name of Jesus than all the victims of wars, ethic cleansings, and religious genocide combined. Those of us who read our Bibles and pray everyday, know that God is a God of surprises. Each person, each plant, each snowflake, each butterfly, each pebble is different from the rest. Our Bible has 66 books that offer us 66 different ways of articulating faith and faith experiences. Our Bible offers us four portraits of a man, whom his followers confess is God-in-the-flesh, who lived, and loved, and labored with the poor, the marginalized, the downtrodden, those whose only hope was God. His enem…

Onward, Christian Soldiers...

Episode One
"In Caesarea there was a man named Cornelius, a centurion of the Italian cohort, as it was called...." Acts 10:1“This war is the kingdom of God coming… the sunrise of a better day for the Philippines.With Christ in his heart, the New Testament in his pocket, ‘Look up and lift up’ (Badge of Methodist Youth League) on his shirt, and forty rounds of ammunition in his belt, we have sent our first missionary in the family” (Moorehead:155).
INTRODUCTIONI agree with Jane Schaberg who cautions us that Luke is a dangerous piece of literature (275).Together with Acts, these two volumes, I would argue, helps create, rationalize, legitimize, and perpetuate the ideology of Imperial Soldier as model of Christianity.His presentation of the five centurions in Luke-Acts, especially Cornelius, was aimed at convincing his readers that, despite the fact that the Empire executed Jesus, Imperial Officers made the best Christians.Having these officers converted was the first big step tow…

That's why we call it "Peace Time"?

"Thirty thousand Americans killed a million Filipinos.We have pacified the islanders and buried them; destroyed their fields, burned their villages; furnished heartbreak by exile to scores of disagreeable patriots; subjugated the remaining 10 million by benevolent assimilation, which is the pious new name of the musket....And so, by these providences of God--and the phrase is the government's not mine--we are a world power.And this is supposedly the mission of our race, trustee under God, of the civilization of the world." - (Mark Twain)

We Worship an Executed God

I have found it disconcerting to celebrate Easter Sunday apart from the horrors of the crucifixion. But many people find nothing problematic about this. The crucifix has become a fashion accessory for a lot of folks.They can do their Easter egg hunts, enjoy their Easter sunrise services, and preach a risen, triumphant Lord without any thought that the God we proclaim as risen was actually murdered on Calvary. Jesus did not die. The empire killed Jesus. He was executed. He was a victim of state-sanctioned terrorism. We who call ourselves Christian actually worship an executed God.Everyday in our beloved country, in Asia, in Latin America, in Africa, and in many parts of the world, people are being crucified, victims of institutionalized oppression—cultural genocide, poverty, racism, gender injustice, capital punishment, global capitalism, militarization, and marginalization. What does it mean to proclaim a resurrection faith in the midst of all these?
What does it mean then for us, who …

The Parable of Juan and Maria's One-Peso Loan

Juan and Maria deposit their hard-earned peso in a bank.Government propaganda have convinced them how helpful banks are and being poor farm-folk, they have identified with bank commercials that go, "Ayokong maging dukha!" (I do not want to be poor!).The bank pays them 5% a year.That's 5 centavos less final tax of 20% so they net 4 centavos. The economy being what it is drives the couple to ask a one peso loan from the same bank.Again, government sponsored info commercials that went, "Isip entreprenyur!" (Think entrepreneur!) helped.Their peso deposit serves as collateral.The bank charges them 30% on the loan.In effect, on the peso they deposited and actually loaned, the bank earned 25 centavos.From another perspective, Juan and Maria paid the bank 25 centavos for allowing them to use their own money!It's no wonder banks and lending institutions are among the most profitable businesses in the country today.(Don’t get me going on the oil cartels that bleed ou…

Tabernacles and Jeepneys

Biblical interpretation has privileged the centers of power within, behind, and in front of the text. Biblical studies in the Philippines have been a stronghold of colonial scholarship for over a century, especially among Protestant churches. Indigenous denominations refuse to become autonomous and continue to depend on their mother institutions in the United States or elsewhere in the First World. Church buildings and institutions are named after benevolent foreign church leaders and missionaries. Seminaries continue to have more foreign teachers (who are paid in dollars by foreign boards) than Filipinos (who are paid in pesos and, usually, significantly below the living wage). Libraries are filled with books written by European and American scholars and continue to receive donations of old books from the First World. Traditional historical-critical methods remain the key reading paradigm. Establishing what the Bible meant in the past is the first step towards discerning what it mean…

Texts of Terror

If crying is the first prophetic utterance (as lifted up by Chung Hyun Kyung's statement during her controversial opening address, and spirit-invoking dance, at the 7th Assembly of the WCC), then TEXTS OF TERROR's poignant, gut-wrenching portraits of women as victims offer us a hearing of those "cries." In Texts of Terror1, Phyllis Trible sets out to tell sad stories as she "hears" them.Indeed, she offers us tales of terror.She comments: "Belonging to the sacred scriptures of synagogue and church, these narratives yield four portraits of suffering in ancient Israel: Hagar, the slave used, abused, and rejected; Tamar, the princess raped, murdered, and dismembered; and the daughter of Jephthah, a virgin slain and sacrificed. Choice and chance inspire my telling these particular tales: hearing a black woman describe herself as a daughter of Hagar outside the covenant; seeing an abused woman on the streets of New York with a sign, 'My name is Tamar&…

A Spirituality of Struggle

A SPIRITUALITY OF STRUGGLE*Most leave their families and their work behind. With the barest of essentials they struggle to survive in the mountains.Up there they learn to live with lots of mosquitoes, lots of rain and mud.Up there one does not have porcelain toilet seats, nor decent bathrooms, nor even a regular bottle of Coca-Cola.In the dense jungles of the Sierra Madre mountains, they sleep with rusty World War II Garand rifles or, if they are lucky, old, Russian-made AK-47s or surplus Vietnam-era Armalite rifles. There they sleep half awake, half expecting that at any moment a military patrol will attack their camp or, worse, US-supplied helicopter gun-ships will blow away all of them--men, women, children, even the few pigs and the chickens they have--to kingdom come.Some of them have been there since the late 60s.It has been a protracted war.Most of them are tired.Yet they continue fighting for the hope that has kept the movement going for close to 40 years now.1In Mindanao, Lum…

Last Words...

LAST WORDS(Binan UCCP, 21 March 2008)Last words are important to many of us. Famous last words include
Rizal’s “Mi Ultimo Adios” and Antonio Luna’s “P___ -Ina!” Those of us who watched the coverage of FPJ's wake and burial four years ago will remember the variety of remembrances of people who talked about his last words to them. My late mother's last words to me--when we were in the air-conditioned ER of the Philippine Heart Center--were: "Anak mainit, paypayan mo ako." And, of course, the most famous last words ever
recorded would be Jesus’ Seven as found in the gospels: Mark and Matthew have one; Luke has three; and John has three.
Many Christians do not read the Bible. We read books about the Bible and parts of the Bible. If the Gospels were movies, the way most of us “read” is akin to watching only parts of a movie, not the whole show.Now, who among us only watch parts of a movie--5 minutes of Spider-Man 3 or 10 minutes of Marimar? The Gospels are complete narrative…