God Dies with Us (Matthew 21)

by Nestor Ravilas

He is from Galilee, the city located exactly at the other end of the political and economic center of Judea which is Jerusalem. From the time newspapers and prime time news programs beginning to cover his activities, spies and state agents were sent out to monitor his activities. Sifted from the reports of all four gospels, the power house of the elite and political class were dispatched to sleuth on him – Pharisees, scribes, experts of the law, and even Herodians in the account of Mark, take interest on him and went down to Galilee, the city that produces most of the activists and bandits in the late second temple Judea. Galilee is the worst place to live in having situated at the dry end of the economic funnel that sloshes down starting from the prime city of Jerusalem, but a conducive den for the enemies of the state like brigands, bandits, and activists for they could safely slide to Macedonia once the state would whimsically budge in to run them down, or wickedly spray them to test its newly acquired bullets from China.

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Romans 13 as a Pharisaic Political Strategy: Approaching the Tension from Historical Perspective

by Nestor Ravilas

How much of his Pharisaic formation stayed? And how does this residue of his former religious upbringing correlate with his new found faith? Catherine Mills doubts that anyone is capable of breaking out from one’s identity formation. Although Judith Butler, out probably of her Hegelian training, casts a positive stance on this issue of identity shifting. She winces a bit, however, telling us that the task is next to impossible. Was Paul then a converted Christian with his Pharisaic foundation remains intact, lurking beneath and indirectly assisting him all the way in reading and interpreting things happening around him, including his new religious persuasion? Was his feisty stand against those “trouble makers” in the churches of Galatia bespeaks of Pharisaic symptoms who are known for intolerance of competition as demonstrated earlier by the Pharisees who bothered and interrogated Jesus throughout his life for his non-Pharicsaic reading of the Torah?

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Manny Paquiao and His Violent God

by Nestor Ravilas

I shuddered at the very thought of elevating Manny Paquiao to power when he first ran to public office not so many years ago. I know for sure it will be a big mistake. It is putting a violent man, and his violent god, to power. I campaigned against his bid for senatorial seat not only to save Evangelical community from shame, but to spare Filipinos from the predilection to violence of this man.

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Poor Joseph: Another Horror of Christmas

by Nestor Ravilas

Whenever I read this part of nativity story (Matt. 1:18-24), I could not help but to sympathize with the plight of Joseph. Not that I claim Joseph suffered and sacrificed more than what Mary had given up just to realize the divine plan. Only that his credulity in some sense flays down the most endeared image of macho Filipino male. I am wondering up to now what moves Joseph to acquiesce to such abject role in that divine drama; whether for the love of Mary or for God, I am not really sure. Since the drama was already done and we are all aware how the story has ended, Joseph was redeemed into heroism or sainthood and the role he played is now recognized as an act of indomitable faith. Prior to that, of course, he was nothing but an idiot easy to fall to such dimwitted narrative of the divine visiting the earth. And there is nothing more enduring, more torturing, than the part of yourself mocking you, saying, “You’re shit, you’re so gullible to believe that Mary is carrying the savior in her womb!” I pity him for that!

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Embedded Violence: President Duterte and the Evangelical Violent Formation

by Nestor Ravilas

In recent exchange between two of prominent public intellectuals, Catherine Mills questioned Judith Butler’s positive stance on non-violence debate. Mills’ pessimism stems from the assumption that there is violence through which a subject is formed, an idea which Butler herself shared with Mills. In a similar vein, Slavoj Zizek, a prolific philosopher, asks how one can repudiate violence since struggle and aggression are part of life. Butler sees a possible break out from this iterable cycle of violence, while Mills and Zizek on the other hand are both skeptics of this “breaking out” since violence is part of humanity’s “constitutive possibilities” and they would naturally conduct themselves in violence that formed and produced them.

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