Colonialism and Consumerism

Fred Laceda

The lectionary text for this Sunday has an interesting reception in Christian history. We know of Matthew 28:16–20 as the missionary text par excellence. This association with missions was a late development, however. Modern missions – or the sending of Christian missionaries in foreign lands – is a product of the Reformation period. It was also at this time that Western powers began their colonial adventurism. Hence colonialism and Christian mission gestated from the same imperialistic womb. It is in this entanglement that we should situate the Western missionary enterprise. And the “Great Commission” text stands as its greatest theological legitimation.

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The Riddle of Romans 13

Nestor Ravilas

Romans 13 again comes to the fore as the national government is miserably fumbling and mishandling the management of the current pandemic. When democratic principles granted us the rights for free speech demonstrable in expressing our opinion publicly, Evangelical Christians immediately seize the public space to shelter and protect the government with the usual and irritating “be-subject-to-authorities” discourse of Romans 13. Proudly, they brandished that the Bible is higher than the Constitution. But, do they really know their Bible?

Did the Bible really say that the emperor, or the government for that matter, is beyond reproach? That we should refrain from criticizing the government, which amounts to challenging the authority of God in the same way?

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At the Foot of the Cross: The Violent Legacy of a Theological Symbol

Fred Laceda

N.T. Wright asks why the Cross became the enduring symbol of Christianity especially if we consider its original purpose as Rome’s mechanism to literally quash dissent. In a typical Wright fashion his answer comes in a form of weaving together seemingly disparate theological threads to create a coherent metanarrative. The finished product is a comprehensive and learned theology which most Christians would agree with. What is lacking in such a theological appropriation and remembering of the Cross is the road it travelled from a violent symbol to a symbol of redemption. This road, contrary to our Christian bubble, is accompanied by antagonism, exclusion, and violent hatred. Let me tell that part of the story.

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What would you do with a dead God?: A Theological Problem of Jesus’ Suffering and Death

Nestor Ravilas

Jesus began to show his disciples that he must go to Jerusalem
and undergo great suffering at the hands of the elders
and chief priests and scribes,
and be killed, and on the third day be raised.
Matthew 16:21

Let them recite the song of Marduk,
Who bound Tiamat and took kingship.
Enuma Elish VII 161–162

The disciples were shocked. For a moment they were stunned, and no one could utter a word. Something is wrong with what Jesus was saying, this is not how the story should go? Jesus has just shared to them his imminent suffering and death in the hands of his enemies.

Peter, the most impertinent of the twelve, able to regain composure and blurted out, “God forbid it, Lord. This must never happen to you!” And from there Peter gained his first slide to infamy in Christian history.

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Mother’s Love & Jesus’ Political Concept: Reflection on Matt. 20:20-28

Nestor Ravilas

Whatever prompted the wife of Zebedee to do the thing she did could have been pure love for her two sons. Too presumptuous to assume such thing, I know. We might probably have an Elenita Binay or an Imelda Marcos case here, mothers who deploy their kids in politics to secure political dominance of their own dynasty. The Zebedees, however, has no dynasty to maintain. What they have is a risky adventurism in supporting a fledgling revolutionary movement of another Galilean activist`.

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Resurrection of the King-God

Nestor Ravilas

“Suportahan natin ang gobyerno dahil niloklok ito ng Diyos” (Let us support this government for God has put it in power) – blustered by one religious supporter of the current Duterte regime.

The beheading of Charles I of England could be monumental event that has proven the doctrine of divine right of the king is mere human construct. None has foreseen it to happen; neither the leader of parliamentary army, Oliver Cromwell, nor Charles I himself. The fusion of temporal and divine power in the throne of England which has spawned an abusive and tyrant line of monarchs has finally come to an end. England is now under the parliament with Cromwell as its head. Soon after the fleeting reign of Cromwell’s parliament, however, the people clamored again for the return of the divine right absolutism. Thus, Charles II, son of the beheaded Charles I, revived the throne under the religious emblem of “divine right to rule”. Blood spilled all over again, first of those jurists who had sent his father to the gallows.

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Imitating Violence

Nestor Ravilas

He was sprawling in the burning pavement. His company surrounded him, holding the huge wooden cross to prevent it from falling to him. Another man is on the end of a rope tied the other end to his waist. Pulling it slightly to intimate it is time to get up and move on. He tried many times but failed. He was so exhausted. Some of his friends are now trying to help him on his feet to complete the task. As we moved along the highway of Dinalupihan, Bataan, we have ran over on more cross-carrying lads. Some are trudging hard their way up to their destination, some have their bodies contorted by heavy cross, some, like the one I described first, slumped in the pavement almost at the brink of giving up.

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