“As MennoNerds, we all have found certain distinctives of Anabaptism to be central in our expression of faith. This article is part of a MennoNerds Synchro-Blog in the month of May on Anabaptism.”Mennonerd Blog Series on Anabaptist Convictions.
If I was part of a militant revolutionary reform movement in the Philippines (there are a few) I would be planning recruitment tactics for the streets right now. The naked shame of the government is hanging out for everyone to see. One hundred and fifty members of the current and past House of Representatives have been accused of stealing public finds close to 100 Million dollars from 2002-2012 and are facing investigation and potential charges. (Philippine Daily Inquirer, Monday, May 19th, 2014)
I’m not advocating for an armed military revolt. But, I do plan to recruit. I am looking for people who want to see the Philippines transformed through non-violent love working for justice!
1. Transformed from a nation where power and wealth mean immunity from the justice system.
2. Transformed from a nation where power and money mean you are above the law.
3. Transformed into a land where leadership pursues justice and does not bend laws to match the wills of influential public figures.
I am a follower of Jesus. Jesus’s church should be very relevant in the battle against corruption as we follow him as disciples. Jesus lived during a time of very corrupt political and religious leaders. These Jewish religious and political leaders, killed Jesus, the one who claimed to be their creator God, rather than give up their power and wealth (John 11:45-53). They chose to kill the miracle worker who was their creator walking among them rather than obeying their creator and finding a new way of living, resisting injustice by following by a new set of rules outside of the authority of Government. If Jesus is Lord then Caesar is not, the early church would say. Jesus understood injustice and he showed us many ways to to be counter-cultural and battle injustice.
Today there is an impenetrable culture of corruption in the Philippines. It is acceptable for hundreds of political leaders to enjoy their blatant acts of greed. Corrupt leaders demonstrate they have a right to abuse and misuse the money of the people.
Christians are called to transformed reality with God. “Don’t conform to this world! But be transformed and renew your mind!” (Romans 12:2). This is a community mission that subverts injustice powerfully, intentionally and nonviolently with the supernatural help of the creator, and our example of God among us: Jesus the Messiah.
When the world was so obviously corrupt, God came into this world to transform it with a demonstration of love, that said fighting power with power is foolish. “Those who live by the sword will die by it” (Matt 26:52). But we the church are called to creative nonviolent actions that show the world every person is made in God’s image and is of infinite value! Radical friendships that show some people live in a different reality, where we are not divided like the politicians who claim to lead this nation. If the political system won’t acknowledge they are hurting the country then then the church will. We will overcome the evil actions of unaccountable leaders through more powerful unity and public accountability because we are a kingdom of citizens who are faithful to the king who gives himself for his subjects. The King of Kings and Lord of Lords.
This is a Very Global Opinion
1. Jesus is the Center
Jesus was God walking on earth as a man but still fully God. We are capable of becoming like him in our actions because he transfoms us and our will when we submit to him. He demonstrated how to live in a corrupt, global environment. No one says that life is as it should be. Evil actions hurt people at every level… senators who steal taxes, and then there’s the millions of Filipinos who suffer through 3 hours of dehumanizing public transportation in Metro Manila every day.
2. A Free Community of Disciples.
Since we have a subversive king, we will subvert the unjust system that dehumanizes people by identifying us as modern consumers, dividing us into poor and rich, dividing Jesus’ church into denominations fighting and encouraging all to ignore the things that make us uncomfortable so that we can relax. We digress and become numb. The Church is a Jesus community where political leaders and political subversives come together under one name. The family of God. If you obey Jesus and live this way, Manila will change. The Philippines will change. Again, it’s simple – make a new friend who is different than you. “Love your neighbor, this is the fulfillment of scripture” (Gal 5:14, Romans 13:10).
3. Agents of God’s Shalom
Everything we do is an outworking of the reality that God is healing all things and that begins in communities who are committing to live in the reality they desire. As the New Testament church put it, Jesus is “King of Kings and Lord of Lords.” That means he is the one who has the right to tell us how to live.
How does he call us to live? Bring hope and healing, justice and peace to everyone you meet. Psalm 85:10 says it best: truth and mercy embrace, justice and peace come together in a kiss. So everything we do points to the perfect peace of God (harmony and wholeness in all relationships with the creator God, myself, others and creation) being experienced always and everywhere. We can’t always experience peace, even in a divinely inspirited community. And our actions don’t always achieve peace. But, as followers of Jesus and people committed spiritual renewal and the new life God gives, we choose obedience to him as ultimate reality.
The process of transforming the Philippines political culture towards justice will be long and painful. I pray that in our lifetime it does not get more violent than it already is. The lasting just changes the world has seen in the last 50 years were lead by communities committed to dignified action that honored all people. PeaceChurch Philippines is a community that holds to this ethos, Balay Tuklasan Likhaan and Theo sa Kanto are other communities committed to seeing the world changed in them and around them. If you’re in Metro Manila and you want to be part of the change we are communities who are part of the change to bring peace, justice and hope to all people as our creator God desires.