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Saturday, December 13, 2008

The Lost Filipino Christian

The Filipino Christian is lost somewhere.  To be a “good Christian,” does he have to abandon his cultural heritage and thus be a “bad Filipino”?  This sense of being lost is sometimes shared and often caused by his foreign mentors who taught him, and probably even sincerely believed it themselves that being Christian means being Westernized.

For almost a hundred years now, evangelical Christianity in the Philippines has almost always been equated with Westernization or, more exactly, Americanization. For instance, a Christian should only be singing formal Western Music at church (the lyrics may sometimes be localized, though) or recently, doing an American gospel song.  Filipino Christian worship has been mindlessly structured after Western prototypes without regard for indigenous -- and still very much alive -- Filipino concepts of time, space, spirituality, and community.  Of course, all these encroachments were done in the high name of evangelization. In as much as the indigenous culture has been collectively adjudged "evil," "pagan," "animist," etc. by many foreign missionaries, it was deemed but proper to destroy and replace it with a "sacred" one; never mind if the replacement is not even the New Testament Eastern-type of Christianity that we see in the Book of Acts but just a version, among many versions: the Anglo-American form.

- Ed Lapiz, Paano Maging Pilipinong Kristiano [Becoming a Filipino Christian] (Makati City: Kaloob, 1997), xiii.


Aldous Echegoyen said...

I dont think the Bible ever taught us to get rid of traditions and culture. It simply states that we must not take traditions to break the command of God.

Matthew 15:2 NIV
"Why do your disciples break the tradition of the elders? They don't wash their hands before they eat!"

Matthew 15:3 NIV
Jesus replied, "And why do you break the command of God for the sake of your tradition?

Matthew 15:6 NIV
he is not to 'honor his father ' with it. Thus you nullify the word of God for the sake of your tradition.

The truth of the matter is that many missionaries have brought their own traditions here in our country and forcing us to leave our own culture so that we can follow theirs.

They missed the point! We can never be western! BUT we cannot also "nullify the word of God for the sake of tradition".

Now this is just my opinion.

scott saboy said...

I agree brother. Church traditions -- especially imported ones -- must neither be followed blindly nor rejected totally, just as traditional culture must neither be cast aside for being "totally evil" nor clung to for being "totally good."