The Triumph of Bad Religion

by Nestor Ravilas

“Metho Andres, the police chaplain at Station 6 who prayed with the officers, told Reuters that the Bible justified the killing. Quoting Romans 13, he said Duterte was a God-appointed “agent of wrath” whom police should obey without question. He blamed drug users for their own deaths. “That’s a consequence of them disobeying,” said the pastor. “There is wrath coming for those who don’t obey.”[1]

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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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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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A Different Gospel

by Nestor Ravilas
Jesus in the Book of Matthew underscores that it is impossible to enter the Kingdom of God apart from being righteous. He even qualifies it more by saying that it has to surpass the righteousness of the prominent religious leaders of his time – those who were culturally accorded with such pious signification. Some people might tend to pick other pertinent vocabulary within the economy of words of the gospel, but we could not do away with the word “righteousness” as it is inextricably associated with our entrance to eternal bliss. What does the word “righteousness” mean therefore is crucial in understanding the gospel.
The word came from the root word “right”.

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The Narrative of Paul: Politics of Memory and the Subversion of Gospel Story

by Nestor Ravilas

paulI was in a classroom and challenged.  The teacher stood feisty waiting for more responses.  I was in a retreat mode; even John 1:1 was already offered to prove the divinity of Jesus, but to no avail.  Most of the first chapter of the Gospel of John is not part of the gospel story, the teacher insisted.  It was the author’s introduction of the gospel story which technically started in verse 19.  Thus it was alien to the sacred story which was entrusted and eventually become the guiding light of the emerging community inspired by the incessant retelling of this story.

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“Sell your possessions and give to the poor”: When Jesus Started Saying Non-sense

by Nestor Ravilas

Jesus is totally annoying at times.  He would suddenly burst on things out that would completely addle one’s mind.   No wonder that the Jesus of faith is gaining more popularity than the one who actually walked our planet.  Among his peeving gibberish is the demand to sell out one’s possessions and give to the poor.  What the hell was that?  It only confirms the rumor that he was miserably broken, not even owning a pillow to lay down his tousled head, thus having found the temerity to call for such renunciation. It looks more like a classic resentment of a poor man’s misery over the fruits of the hard works of wealthy people.

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