Monday, March 03, 2008

The Methodists are calling...and I am obedient because you can take the girl out of the Methodist Church but you can't get the Methodist out of the girl. So off I go this Friday to a California-Nevada Methodist consultation on how to grow Fil Am Methodist Churches.

This is always nerve-wracking for me. I am currently unchurched so am not sure how the Methodists have changed in the past decade but I think what I know about racial politics, colonial and postcolonial subjectivities, issues re multiculturalism in the US remain relevant so these I can lecture about. Am not being asked to do hermeneutics, soteriology, or exegesis (just showing off my religious vocabulary haha!) so I suppose I'm on safe ground.

But this is, more or less, how I want to end my talk:

Decolonization is a spiritual path. A path to transcendence without bypassing history and politics. We need to think of our spiritual calling in a cultural context. What are God's gifts but those that we bring with us from our deepest cultural memories and indigenous consciousness?

Renewal of faith for Methodist Filipinos must be rooted in who we are as a people and in doing so must learn how to parse our theological formation (via colonization) on the one hand, and the core of Christ's teachings on the other . Winnowing this difference is followed by an integration, healing and reconciliation. Coming full circle, then, is to embrace one's childhood (term is deliberately used) faith with informed awareness of history and politics. Understanding that faith must be grounded in community where 1) individual spirituality is nurtured and at the same time 2) one's gifts are given back to circulate for the benefit of one's kapwa and sakop.

Remembering that Jesus was a revolutionary and was killed by the righteous and moral authorities of his time, similarly we are called to speak to the powers that dominate and marginalize peoples of color. How do we talk and write back (and act) to the dominating ideologies of white supremacy and western superiority when we feel complicitous? How do we do the work required of us?


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