Friday, July 27, 2007

Do you think there will be a critical mass of decolonizing Filipinos and Filipinos in the diaspora in your lifetime?

This question was posed to me by Venus, 1.5 Fil Am, 30years old, recent graduate of MA in Indigenous Mind. Before I could answer, she said: I want to see it happen in my generation!

So we spent a whole afternoon brainstorming on how this vision can happen...or specifically, how one person can make a difference. She said that she lives and breathes this question 24/7 and wants to have conversations with as many folks as possible about it. She talked about the need for a specifically Filipino language with which to express our own kind of indigenous spirituality that undergirds all the different forms it is manifest in our communities -- whether Catholic, Protestant, INK, El Shaddai, etc. For her part, she would like to create films or write books; she wants to bring MAtthew Fox's techno-mass celebrations to Fil Am communities.

[At our Techno Cosmic Masses, we are exploring answers to these questions and what we are learning' is that the young, what I call the first, post modern generation, are indeed gifted with ways to awaken us all at worship. By working with the young at making worship work again, a kind of intergenerational wisdom happens. The result is that many people show up, both youngand not so, young (30% are in their twenties or their teens).And many people feel moved deeply, by the experience.

Transformation happens. Transformation is possible. Hope happens. Beauty flows. Fun occurs. Memory is unleashed and tapped into. The ancestors return. Boundaries melt. Boredom ceases. Creativity breaks out. Depression disappears, Empowerment takes place. Community comes to pass.] read on...

Venus was in town to attend a conference on Creation Spirituality - a term coined by Matthew Fox. Her intense passion is contagious and inspiring (thank you, Venus!) ...so there will be more news about her work in this space in the future...or until she starts her own blog.

After Venus left, my friend Noe from the Sikolohiyang PIlipino days and good friend of Virgilio Enriquez, came by to visit. Haven't seen him in a few years. He has since left the corporate world to become a soon-to-be-ordained Deacon of the Catholic Church. So I got my brief lesson on the history of the Vatican II restoration of the Diaconate in the Catholic Church. I learned that the path to ordination is almost as long as the path to priesthood. He tells me that he plans to return as a Deacon/missionary to his hometown in Albay to work on poverty, social justice, and environmental concerns.

Noe talked about a particular Filipino Franciscan priest who recently wrote his dissertation for the Franciscan School of Theology on Eco-Theology using the concept of anito-worship (Anitism) to integrate Filipino animist beliefs and eco-theology. Filipinos have always held their anitos as sacred protectors and guides in every facet of their lives - the anito that protects the harvest from the land and the oceans, that protects us from malevolent spirits, that provides courage and wisdom in times of struggle, etc. The anitos represent our connection to the Land, to our Ancestors, and the harmony and balance in all of Creation. (So yes, he has thought of me and my work all along, he said, and he promised to send me this book).

Noe says that the popularity of the Santo Nino today among Filipino catholics harks back to our relationship with our anitos...that is why during the feast of Santo Nino, he is dressed up as a fisherman, as a farmer, as a laborer...and the mass that celebrates his feast day is infused with all these indigenous elements. (Ok, this non-Catholic gets it...but is the Santo Nino ever dressed as a little girl, too?)

Venus and Noe - two souls that have yet to meet -- were both talking about the importance of indigenizing the Catholic Mass. Venus wants to infuse it with ideas from the tecno-cosmic mass and Noe wants to use ideas from indigenous traditions - the use of gongs, chants, dance during the celebration of the Mass. They both want to see an interfaith, intergenerational coming together of community. Both of them see the importance of these rituals because it reconnects us to our indigenous selves. Both of them want to see religious life connected to issues of social justice, to ecological issues as moral and spiritual issues.

The Oakland, Ca diocese wants Noe to get involved and had asked him to invite other Filipino resources to develop Fil Am programs around these issues. He told the Catholic bishop that he knows this woman who is very interested in questions of theology and indigenous spirituality but she is not Catholic...that she was raised Methodist but no longer...that she is probably an agnostic by now. I gently corrected him and said that I am an animist. Tell the bishop, Noe.

I call myself an animist but I am the sum of all that I have been...

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