Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Day to day

When our church’s choir held a prayer hike in Angono,Rizal, I was, thanks to the absence of the devotion leader who did not make it to the prayer walk (for reasons I know that only God understands) I, on the spot, led the devotion. After the devotion, there were singing and sharing. I am blessed because here I found people who know faith at a deeper and more personal level than I.

They shared how they were thankful for the blessings that God had given them; they were tearful because one of them was sorry because she felt she had not given God her best. These sharing times, I, and I am sorry now, I consider these as emotional encounters. I consider these activities as a necessity for faith in a psychological sense, therapeutic may I say.

What made me think this way? Maybe its because of the orientation of the theology I hear and read, eschatological—pointed towards going to heaven and to the second coming of Christ. Somehow the theology preached and written about (in my experience as a lay teacher and preacher(?)) has forgotten the day to day need for a theology especially for the Filipinos. It is concerned more with sanctifications and edification than daily survival. To the western this eschatological orientation may be well suited for their sense of history is linear, but to the Asians and the Filipinos whose world orientation is organic and the time perception is circular and hence everything is thought of as interrelated and interconnected and cyclical, its problematic. (Fr. Mercado)

So, I am, usually, dumbstruck, when I hear a church member testifying that he/she experience miracle because it did not rain, or when it rained, or when a son was not bitten by dog, or when accidents did not happen etc. little things that (for me) should not be attributed to God but to the laws of gravity. I’m sure I’m not the only one who thinks this way and sometimes people who live and experience their faith this way, encountering God in day to day activities in small details, is looked upon with a “shrug my shoulder reaction” to more often than not, contempt. I for one, more often than not, even feel that they are sometimes being blasphemous for attributing to God’s hands even the minutest details of their daily existence. Here is Calvinistic Determinism at its worst! I say to myself.

Of course I am wrong, I am not going to talk more but its obvious that, in order for the Christian message to be concrete to common Filipinos this attitude of daily Christianity, this “Christian fatalism” had to be accepted and a theology that should respond to it must be formulated. Dr. Rodney Henry writer of Filipino Spirit World is warning that unless this is done, Filipino Christians will continue to live with a Christian belief that addresses their ultimate concerns (death and heaven) but is aloof when it comes to the daily spiritual needs of the Filipinos, hence animism and spiritism will continue to live side by side with Christianity.

So instead of daily occurrences being controlled by nuno sa punso, swerte, pagkakataon, matanda why not attribute these events directly to God for what does the Bible says:
For only a penny you can buy two sparrows, yet not one sparrow falls to the ground without your Father's consent. As for you, even the hairs of your head have all been counted. Mat 10:29

Yes, even the bad occurences in our lives.

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