Today is Sunday, my lazy Sunday. Time to rest, time to relax. No church for me today. I haven't been to church since two weeks ago, when I went to Phoenix to visit my friend, and he invited me to go to church with him. In fact, I have gone to church only five times in the last three years. Twice in an an actual service, twice sitting outside the church at Greenbelt three. I don't even know if you can consider that attending church. And once to take pictures of the church that my grandparents and relatives are funding in our province.
In the last fifteen years of my life, I have been so turned off by churches. Note, I'm not necessarily turned of by religion per se, but churches and congregations in general. I grew up literally right next door to a church that my family built, but I never felt good attending. It was a chore. And it was a bore. Then when we moved to Hawaii, my grandparents took us to the church, and it was the longer services I've ever attended. Two hours. Sometimes three. Sometimes four. What the heck? Who has the attention span for that long?
Then there were more rules. Men must wear long jeans, no shorts. Women must wear skirts, to the knees and not any higher. Men should have short hair. Women should have long hair. It's bad to lust. It's bad to masturbate. It's bad to do this. It's bad to do that. Almost everything is bad. I became filled with more questions than answers.
Then there's the topic of hypocrisy. Those that preached the word became the sinners themselves later. Boy, what an example.
I'm not turned off by religion and spirituality. In fact, I embrace it. I am just so turned off by its ambassadors, those who are supposedly chosen to represent the word, to deliver his message.
Though I still have many questions, I am beginning to reconcile myself and Christianity. My relationship with Him is a personal one. That is between God and me. He knows my heart, and only he will be able to judge me.
I will not go around preaching to people about God and Christianity and how everyone must repent and come to church and do this and do that or else you will suffer His wrath and burn in hell and blah blah blah as some people do. Instead, I will live in goodness. I will stand for love. I will stand for justice. And I will live my life in that manner, so that others may see me as an example. Along the way, I will stumble and fall. Blame it on human nature. Blame it on the devil. Blame in on me, for being weak.
Sooner or later, we have to come to speaking about my beloved Pinoys and their love of religion. We've all heard it before, The Philippines is the biggest Christian/Catholic nation in the East, with at least 80% of the population being Christian/Catholic. So the Philippines is such a religious and spiritual country, and one would think that with a collective prayer by the millions, the country would be blessed.
Not so. The country is full of corruption, dirty politics, extreme poverty, rampant discrimination, and blatant disregard of humanity. How is one country that is so reliant and so "churched" on the good teachings of religion and the Christian faith be so backward? How can a deeply spiritual people who learned the tenets of love and care from their religion be so unloving and uncaring towards each other?
I do not have the answer. I only have the views of a Filipino American. But since I also majored in Political Science, and from a religious private school, a Jesuit one, I believe I have a little bit of understanding about the Philippine situation. So here's my theory on the relationship between spirituality and politics in the Philippines.
I do not believe that the Filipino people are as deeply rooted in religion and Christianity as they believe they are. Otherwise, they would be making wiser decisions when it comes to politics and electing their leaders. Instead, they are bought. I go to church on Sunday. Then you can buy my vote tomorrow, OK?
Next, we have politicians who claim to be spiritual, religious, and God-fearing. I think they are spiritually crooked, religiously corrupt, and fear only losing power. Granted some of them are really trying their best to do well for their constituency, but there are just so many of them, I probably shall call them the "Filipino Legion of Doom" from now on. How often do these politicians hold forums for their constituencies to discuss issues that affect them?
In the US, I have shaken hands with Governors, mayors, councilmembers, and other politicians. They serve me. I do not serve them. I am their voice. For they know, that even a Filipino immigrant like me, have a large voice, large enough to call on the masses if they failed to serve me. Thanks to the power of organization and the media.
In the Philippines, conversely, people are expected to kiss the asses of their politicians. Accordingly, politicians think the people serve them, and not the other way around. If I accidentally stepped on the shoes of a politician, I might get shot right then and there. OK, fine. I might be beaten up. But If I stepped on the shoe of an American politician by accident, all I need is a simple "Sorry."
This post is getting hella long. I hope that when Filipinos go to church, they will ask themselves, what is my reason for coming to church?
I go to church today. Will my vote be bought tomorrow? Will I sell my soul to the devil come election time?
Filipino Pinoy Church Religion Catholic Christian Politics Politicians Election Vote Sunday
Monday, September 18, 2006
Church and Politics, the Filipino Excuse
I believe in love, justice, equality, and life. I believe in the pursuit of happiness. Above all else, I believe in God. I started blogging since since August 18, 2006. I am not the same person I was once. My thoughts, perspectives, and opinions are different now.