How God’s Chosen People Can “Reinvent” Their Church

by Bobby Reyes

“The Cathedral of Learning” | Photo by Gumilang Aryo Sahadewo via Flickr/Commons CC BY 2.0

Part XII of an “EDEN America” series

We have already discussed why there is a need for reforms in Christian churches, especially the Catholic Church. The current coronavirus-caused pandemic has shuttered many churches and chapels. The medical crisis also created a severe financial crisis in churches, primarily parochial schools, and other learning institutions.

How can Filipinos, especially OFWs and Overseas Filipinos, if they want to become (the self-proclaimed) “God’s Chosen People” for the next century (or even earlier), “reinvent” the present churches where they belong?

Before the pandemic, this columnist has been writing how to turn current church organizations into “Parishes of the Future,” as I addressed the Catholic Church of Bacon (Sorsogon Province, Philippines) in the Holy Week of 2016. And gave them ideas on how to start socio-economic empowerment for their members, including providing affordable healthcare, for I argued that churches ought to minister both the body and soul of the church members. And do it collectively by forming cooperatives.

On Feb. 12, 2009 (nearly 7-years earlier), I wrote this article at this link and called it “Reinventing the Filipino the Catholic, Nay, Christian World (And Other Churches of Any Faith in RP).”

It may interest those curious to read what I have written in the said article, as it carries hyperlinks to other similar topics that I have penned and published online. I tried to state the steps, ways, and means of “reinvent” the Christian churches where Filipinos, OFWs, and Overseas Filipinos belonged.

One of my literary mentors, Poet-pundit Fred Burce Bunao, called this columnist in 2009 a “hybrid of a religious reformer, if not a Filipino version of Martin Luther (1483-1546) of Germany, and the Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr., (1929-1968) of the United States — combined. Mr. Bunao (now deceased) was known for his wit and humor. He won the Palanca Award for Poetry in English in 1969 and retired as the favorite copy editor of Chino Roces (now also deceased), the publisher then of The Manila Times.

And he gave me an alias, “Martin Luther Kings,” since Reyes means Kings in English. However, he said that for me to have a combined name of both historical figures, I would first be a monk, like the Geerman theologian, and assassinated like Dr. King, Jr. I replied: Thanks, but no thanks.

” … create linkages between congregations in the homeland to the parishes or churches, synagogues, or mosques where there are Overseas-Filipino parishioners, members, or worshipers.”

I wrote in 2009: The first suggested step is to create linkages between congregations in the homeland to the parishes or churches, synagogues, or mosques where there are Overseas-Filipino parishioners, members, or worshipers. Why? A spiritual version of the secular “sister city” or “sister town” may be the most logical first step in the proposed “reinvention” of any church or religion in the Philippines.

The second step is to create an online religious community, i.e., Online Filipino-Catholic Community, Online Episcopal Community, Online Filipino-Muslim Community, Online Iglesia-ni-Kristo Community, Online Episcopal-Philippine Independent Church (EPIC) Community, Online Filipino-Mormon Community, etcetera.

As I stated before in The Straphanger column, this writer has initiated a modest movement to “reinvent” the Catholic Diocese of Sorsogon, which is my local-diocesan turf. It resulted in the launching of a so-called “Born Against Movement” (BAM). The “BAM” has a Facebook Group called BLEAK LIVES MATTER (“Born Against” Movement).

I wrote in this column last Oct. 31, “Perhaps the people of Colima, the smallest province of Mexico, and their leaders may assist the coming Pueblo Filipino project. The project site — that can be as large as 1,200 hectares — is big enough to build not only retirement condos but all the buildings discussed in that article. This will also allow OFWs and Overseas Filipinos to help Mexico become the 5th-biggest economy in the world by 2050.”

“Aside from the Central Bank of Mexico issuing a guaranty to the Eximbank, it will ensure that the projects are done according to approved feasibility studies, as adequately “collateralized” (sic).”

Yes, especially if done on a Public-Private Partnership. By turning ideas into feasibility studies, they may build all the proposed Cathedrals (Learning, Sports, Medicine, Culture, and others). In that case, the U.S. Export and Import Bank (Eximbank) can fund the projects provided American firms supply the bulk of the building materials, technical services, electrical and computer components, equipment, and other infrastructural needs.

Aside from the Central Bank of Mexico issuing a guaranty to the Eximbank, it will ensure that the projects are done according to approved feasibility studies, as adequately “collateralized” (sic). The Mexican provincial-and-city governments can also help by floating their country’s equivalent of the “municipal bonds” to support the projects. Then Filipino American associations and investors can pump equity in the ventures as stakeholders. After all, Filipino Americans earn collectively more-than US$92-billion per year (on pre-pandemic household incomes).

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