Lakan Sumulong

Dann Pantoja is beginning to use his Tagalog indigenous name — Lakan Sumulong. This is a statement that our indigenous identities can be a redeeming factor in healing our ‘being’ (that is, who we are as a people); help symbolize our determination to contribute what we ought to be ‘doing’ as a nation (that is–active, non-violent, radical transformation); and, determine how we will prioritize what we will be ‘having’ (that is, inclusive growth and national development based on justice and peace).

Asked what fuels his positive outlook in life: “It’s the influence of Jesus, a first century Palestinian carpenter who was executed by the imperial power of his time. He said: ‘Whoever tries to keep his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life will preserve it.’ Jesus defied the ultimate negative factor in our cosmos–death.”

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Mar 07 2017

MOST OF OUR PRESENT ENERGIES ARE FOCUSED ON PAR LEADERSHIP BUILDING

Our last three years was focused on leadership development. We have identified the candidates who would take over the leadership of PeaceBuilders Community and Coffee For Peace. Most of our energies now are focused on mentoring these Millennials who are actually running our field operations.

We have reached our 10th year as International Witness Partnership Workers with Mennonite Church Canada.

 

Our first year was invested in establishing network acquaintances, getting to know the geographical, social, cultural, and political terrain of Mindanao, and learning from the wisdom of the elders, starting with our Bangsamoro mentor, then from among the elders of various indigenous communities.

 

The next three years were spent deepening the relationships with various community leaders who have welcomed and embraced us — to learn with them, to work with them, to struggle with them, and to celebrate with them — as they continually deal with the challenges they are facing as a people towards the attainment of justice, peace, and liberation from all kinds of oppression. Along with these relational emphases, we also spent much of our energies in institutional-building, doing the the difficult tasks of —

 

Another three years were invested in connecting with the larger body of peacebuilding networks — provincial, regional, and national. We felt the need to help in the national peace and reconciliation among the major conflicting political parties and fronts in this country. Vision 2020 was articulated and adopted by our Community. We shared this vision with the Philippine Council of Evangelical Churches (PCEC) and they responded by seeking to contribute to the on-going peace process between the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) and the Government of the Philippines (GPH). PCEC also established their Peace and Reconciliation Commission to institutionalize the teaching and practice of Peace Theology among the evangelical churches in the Philippines. We also went northward to establish relationships with the various indigenous peoples of the Cordillera Region. The other key strategic move during this period was to multiply our teaching capability through —

 

The last three years were focused on leadership development. We have identified the candidates who would take over the leadership of PeaceBuilders Community and Coffee For Peace. Most of our energies now are focused on mentoring these Millennials who are actually running our field operations.

 

Here are the leadership principles we’re using:

 

WE ARE HELPING TO RAISE UP ETHICAL AND EFFECTIVE LEADERS

 

PeaceBuilders Community, Inc. is committed to equip and train spiritual leaders, who have deep intimate relationship with God and deep passion to advance justice and peace, to lead this PAR Movement.

 

Such spiritual intimacy with the creativity of the Creator, the peace of the Christ, and the energy of the Comforter would develop Christ-like leadership characteristics as follows:

 

Heart of a Servant. This is the foundation of biblical leadership (Mt. 20:20-28).  Biblical leaders are servants who have been called, and who are willing, to lead. Biblical servanthood is motivated by Christ’s sacrificial love. The Lord Jesus Christ rejects mere position power as the basis of leadership in the Kingdom of God.

 

Soul of a Teacher. God taught us about the DivineSelf  through the life and work of the Lord Jesus Christ (Jn. 1:1-14). His very existence served as the object lesson of servant leadership (Jn. 13:1-17). Jesus Christ is the Great Teacher.

 

Mind of a Manager. A manager accomplishes tasks through trained and disciplined people. Stewardship or management is crucial to our obedience in advancing the Kingdom of God. Jesus Christ taught His disciples how to strategize their ministry (Mt. 10) and how to manage their God-given resources (Mt. 25:14-20). He commissioned His followers that the Great Commandment — To Love God and Neighbors (Mt. 22:37-40) — is best accomplished through the Great Commission — making followers of Jesus Christ To Love God and Neighbors as Christians go about their daily lives, as they baptize, and as they teach (Mt. 28:18-20). Both the Great Commandment and the Great Commission are to be accomplished through multiplication of trained and committed followers who would also equip other followers (2 Tim. 2:2).

 

Strength of a Leader. The strength of Christ’s leadership is His humility (Phil. 2:1-11). It is through life-giving servanthood and humility that we will experience effectiveness and stamina in leadership (Phil. 4:9).

 

Permanent link to this article: http://waves.ca/2017/03/07/most-of-our-present-energies-are-focused-on-par-leadership-building/

Mar 01 2017

THIS IS HOW I PRAY FOR THE PHILIPPINES THESE DAYS

A prayer for peace for my beloved people in this beautiful land, especially these days when our people are so divided and the horizon seems to be too dark:

 

For the success of the Duterte government in its vision to fight against corruption, criminality, and drugs; for the determination of the government to stop the spate of killings and to pursue justice for all victims of human rights violations; for the legislature to stop the reinstatement of the death penalty; for the all-out war to stop; for the resumption of the peace talks; for the successful implementation of federalism in the context of the differing cultures of our various regions.

 

For the success of the People Power movement to be faithful in renouncing the abusive, destructive regime of the Marcoses starting from the traumas of Martial Law to the present revisionism of history; for the Cojuangco-Aquino clans to face justice regarding the traumas suffered by the peasants at the Hacienda Luisita Massacre and the farmers during the Mendiola Massacre.

 

For the success of the National Democratic Front in advancing pro-people policies and justice-based peace for the masses; for their continuing courage and energy to advance our liberation from the oppression of bureaucrat-capitalism and our liberation from US imperialism; for a bilateral ceasefire and mechanism for the security of the masses; for an open-minded approach to assess the sustainability and impact of armed-struggle vis-a-vis the regenerative impact of active non-violent approach towards radical transformation as seen in many movements in other parts of the world.

 

For the success of the Cordillera People’s struggle to attain genuine autonomy and for them to enjoy their right to self determination in their liberated ancestral domain; for the continuing reflection on the enhancement of their inter-tribal conflict transformation processes in the context of their cultural values.

 

For the success of the various Indigenous Peoples in liberating, defending, protecting and preserving their respective ancestral domains and to enjoy their right to self-determination in accordance with their own worldviews, value systems, and customary laws.

 

For the success of the Bangsamoro to enjoy their right to self-determination in a liberated ancestral domain where they can enjoy the stewardship of their natural resources and to live their lives in accordance with their Islamic values.

 

“Your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.” ~ Jesus, The Carpenter

 

 

 

Permanent link to this article: http://waves.ca/2017/03/01/this-is-how-i-pray-for-the-philippines-these-days/

Feb 02 2017

THE BANAO AND SUMACHER TRIBES IN KALINGA WELCOME PBCI & CFP

The tribal elders of Banao Tribe in Talalang, Balbalan, Kalinga invited me to explore a partnership with them in producing global quality coffee using the Peace and Reconciliation framework of Coffee For Peace. 31 January 2017. We’re planning to be back in this community by April 2017 to do CFP and PAR training.

PeaceBuilders Community, Inc. (PBCI) and Coffee For Peace (CFP) have been enjoying a growing relationship with the various tribes of Kalinga province. I visited Kalinga again as a continuation of our prayerful commitment to support their aspiration for genuine autonomy.

I praise the Great Creator —

  • for those rich moments of bonding with our Kalinga family who adopted Joji and me — the Alngag clan where Tala belongs; especially grateful to God for Malou Alngag who shared her vision and enthusiasm to advance peace and reconciliation (PAR) principles and practices in Kalinga through her professional skills and expertise in the field of Public Administration;
  • for a wonderful chance to have mentorship sessions with Aiza, our field worker there, and to get to know her family and the Banao tribe where she belongs — especially his father, Gilbert Baluyan — in Barangay Talalang, Balbalan, Upper Kalinga;
  • for the privilege of speaking before the pastors and church leaders there and precious time of conversations to deepen our relationship with them;
  • for the rich time of fellowship and sharing of hearts and minds with the leadership of the Cordillera People’s Liberatìon Army (direct core group of the late Father Conrado Balweg), especially for the generous hospitality of Ma’am Chupan Chulsi, their Chief of Staff;
  • for the joy of seeing again my brother, Johnny Sawadan, who is volunteering to help establish PAR communities in the Cordillera Region; and,
  • for the opportunity to share peace and reconciliation (PAR) principles and practices with the local government officials; and, for the chance to formally present the inclusive development consulting services of PeaceBuilders Community and the economic-ecological transformation initiatives of Coffee For Peace.

It was a delight to listen to my dear Kalinga mother, Janet Alngag, and my sisters, Marilou and Rebecca, as they dream and plan together about the Peace and Reconciliation activities among the Sumacher tribe in Barangay Bulo, Tabuk City and in Barangay Sumacher, Municipality of Tinglayan in Upper Kalinga. Aiza Baluyan, our PAR Field Worker in Kalinga takes notes.

 

 

See Facebook photo album

 

Permanent link to this article: http://waves.ca/2017/02/02/the-banao-and-sumacher-tribes-in-kalinga-welcome-pbci-cfp/

Jan 19 2017

WE HONOR THE MAN OF PEACE WHO WELCOMED US IN MINDANAO

Datu Kharis M. Baraguir is my mentor in Bangsamoro history and culture. 14 May 2013. Datu’s Brew Coffee Shop, Cotabato City. Photo by PBCI-ICT.

Between December 2004 and June 2005, I lived among the Bangsamoros in the Municipality of Sultan Kudarat, Province of Maguindanao and shared life with this amazing people group. I was embraced by the people in Sultan Kudarat, specifically by the family of Datu Kharis Matalam Baraguir.  It was through their simple life and their daily prayers, seeking to submit their whole being to Allah, that I experienced the kind of Salaam (Peace) that many Bangsamoro are longing for.  It was in the person of Datu Kharis Baraguir that I found the Person of Peace in his peacebuilding journey in Mindanao.

Datu Kharis continues to serve as one of our senior consultants at PeaceBuilders Community.

 

 

THE HON. DATU KHARIS M. BARAGUIR, SR.
Senior Consultant
Bangsamoro Historical Narrative and Culture

datukharis@peacebuilderscommunity.org

Datu Kharis was the first elected Vice Governor of the Province of Maguindanao.  He is a devout Muslim and a respected elder coming from the Maguindanao’s traditional leadership family.  He is a man of peace whom we look up to as our adopted father.  All staff and volunteers of PeaceBuilders Community, local and global, are required to go through Datu Kharis’ orientation on Mindanao Peace Process from the Bangsamoro perspective.

Asked what motivates him to work with a Christian peace building community like us:  Islam is a religion of peace (salaam). It is consistent with Islamic teaching to be friends and co-workers of the People of the Book who truly practice the ethical principles of their faith.  I am a Muslim member of PeaceBuilders Community.

 

 

 

 

Permanent link to this article: http://waves.ca/2017/01/19/we-honor-the-man-of-peace-who-welcomed-us-in-mindanao/

Jan 06 2017

THIS YEAR, WE’LL FOCUS ON ESTABLISHING PAR COMMUNITIES IN PANAY ISLAND

HAPPY NEW YEAR!

 

What a journey we had in 2016! Here’s a bunch of stories we shared to our accountability partners here in the Philippines.

 

Our focus in the year 2017 is to establish Peace and Reconciliation (PAR) Communities in the five provinces of Panay Island. In the last quarter of 2016, we have initiated PAR community organization in the Province of Capiz. We are also praying and working on organizing and establishing PAR Communities in the provinces of Aklan, Antique, and Iloilo.

 

For the past 5 years, we’ve been praying to start a PAR movement in Western Visayas. We have assigned Twinkle ‘Tala’ Alngag Bautista as our lead person and field manager for this specific task. Tala is a seasoned field team leader who successfully established PAR communities in Bukidnon, Mindoro Occidental, and Kalinga.

 

This is a part of a protracted, active, nonviolent, radical transformation.

 

 

PAR PHILIPPINES: VISION 2020

 

Imagine.  By December 31st, 2020, each of our provinces will have a circle of leaders called Peace and Reconciliation (PAR) Communities!  They would serve as the catalysts to organize PAR Teams in their municipalities or cities.  These PAR Teams, in turn, would serve as radical transformation volunteers in their respective families, churches, neighbourhoods, barangays, cities or municipalities.  The PAR Teams would also get involved in PAR Programs that are relevant to their specific context.

 

We are operating in 33 out of 81 provinces in the Philippines as of January 2016 — 20 in Mindanao, 4 in Visayas, 09 in Luzon.

 

 

These PAR Communities and the PAR Teams they have organized would be the backbone of a national PAR Movement.  Then we can see, and we can count on, a well-equipped, efficiently-organized, and effectively-mobilized Peace and Reconciliation constituency.

 

But we’re getting ahead of ourselves.

 

For now, let’s work on how we can establish at least one PAR Community in each of the 81 provinces in our country.

 

So, how do we get there from here?

 

1. Find a Person of Peace in the province. Many would claim themselves to be the person of peace in the whole province.  Beware of that person!  He might want to use us in his or her personal interest, be it amassing material wealth or gaining political power.  We are simply looking for a person of peace.

 

This principle is from Jesus’ instruction to the seventy people he sent out:
“When you enter a house, first say, ‘Peace to this house.’ If someone who promotes peace is there, your peace will rest on them; if not, it will return to you.  Stay there, eating and drinking whatever they give you, for the worker deserves his wages. Do not move around from house to house.” (Luke 10:5-7 NIV)
A person of peace must be discerned and would have the following characteristics:

  • Prioritizes Kingdom values in her or his life.  Righteousness, justice, peace, and mercy are very important to this person.
  • Earns the respect of people.  This person’s family and community regard him or her as trustworthy.
  • Accepts and welcomes strangers.  This person is hospitable.
  • Cares about your safety and security.  This person becomes your protector.
  • Expands your connections to a network of key leaders.  This person serves as your ‘public relations officer’.

 

The person of peace who practice a set of biblical leadership ethics must also be discerned communally. The discernment process will be done in consultation with each province’s fellowship of pastors and Christian leaders.  PAR Leaders are respected women- and men-of-peace who are actively modelling a person who demonstrates

  • a heart of a servant;
  • a soul of a teacher;
  • a mind of a manager; and,
  • the strength of a leader.

 

2. Arrange an exploratory meeting with a group of leaders in a given province. These leaders must be endorsed and gathered by the PAR Leader who is also our trusted Person of Peace.  The objectives of this meeting are:

  • to present the Vision 2020 to the leaders in a given province
  • to get a commitment from those leaders to organize themselves as a PAR Community
  • to get a commitment from the new PAR Community to gather a minimum of 25 interested participants to go through PAR Seminar Series

 

3. Facilitate PAR Seminar Series among the leaders. The PAR Community will have to provide the food, lodging and transportation expenses for the PBCI training team of 3-5 people, the seminar venue, participants’ food and lodging, and the cost of training materials. Copies of the Peace and Reconciliation Resource Manual can be ordered from the PeaceBuilders Community by emailing our PAR Consulting Team (par@peacebuilderscommunity.org).

 

4. Facilitate the organization of PAR Communities in every province under the leadership of the PAR Leader or the person of peace. These PAR Communities are groups of community leaders—church leaders, local government leaders, non-government organization leaders, or any mix of these—

 

5. Assist the provincial PAR Communities in organizing municipal or city PAR Teams. PAR Teams are composed of local volunteers from various communities who are trained for 8 months to be an on-going, rapidly-mobilized teams who will implement their PAR Communities’ programs. The general objectives of PAR Teams are:

  • to promote peace and reconciliation in our land by giving skilled, courageous support to communities experiencing various conflicts
  • to inspire various parties-in-conflict to discard violence in favor of nonviolent action as a means of settling differences
  • to provide various communities with first-hand information and resources for responding to situations of conflict, and to urge their active involvement
  • to interpret a nonviolent perspective to the media and to our nation as a whole

 

6. Develop PAR Program. PAR Communities are encouraged to discern — through prayer and research — the most important and urgent need of their province.  This can be done consultation with the Body of Christ and local government units in their province.  The output of this discernment process would be a project proposal that can be submitted to appropriate prospective funding partners from the donor community.  Examples of PAR Programs include:

  • Community Organization
  • Peace Education
  • Armed Conflict Area Survival Training
  • Fact-Finding Missions
  • Conflict Transformation
  • Disaster Preparedness
  • Trauma Healing
  • Inter-Faith Dialogue
  • Cross-Cultural Communications
  • Fair Trade Initiatives

PAR Programs are best implemented by PAR Teams in their own local contexts.

 

7. Initiate field testing of the new PAR Teams. The PAR Teams will be deployed on the field to test their newly-acquired training.  This will be done through the supervision of the the PAR Community. PBCI would serve as technical consultants.

 

8. Facilitate Training of Teachers to expand PAR Program. Based on the evaluation and learning from the field, PBCI would conduct a Training of Teachers’ Seminar.

 

9. Encourage the new PAR Community to start a PAR Community in a new province. We need to reach all 81 provinces in our country by 2020. We believe that through faith, prayers, dependence on the Holy Spirit, and exponential qualitative training of PAR volunteers, this will become a reality.

 

10. Repeat the above process 1-9 in each province. May God bless the spread and multiplication of this PAR Movement.

 

 

 

 

 

A NON-VIOLENT, RADICAL TRANSFORMATION

 

God willing, by January 01, 2021, the PAR Communities in all the provinces of the Philippines would advance as a Peace and Reconciliation Movement with an integrated framework for peace-building, who are organized in partnership with various parts of the People of God, who are mobilized to do ministries of justice and peace in the name of Jesus, and who will lovingly serve all the peoples of our land unconditionally regardless of religion, ethnicity, or political ideology, to the end that our land will experience holistic, radical transformation!

 

 

Using an integrated framework for peace-building, PBCI will serve each PAR Community to be equipped in spiritually-energized social discernment and analysis.

 

1.  We will serve each PAR Community by equipping them with certain spiritual discernment skills and social analytical tools to help them understand the issues causing the crises they are facing in their particular province.  By having a clear discernment and analysis of their situation, they can make relevant and effective crisis intervention.

 

2.  We will encourage them to look beyond their current crises and to envision a future when there is genuine peace and reconciliation in their particular province.  This vision is characterized by the kind of social structures and relationships they would desire.  Such long term vision will help them discern the root causes of the crises they are facing and will also help them look through the taken-for-granted facades of social realities that keep the cycle or recurrence of their crises.

 

3.  We will walk with them, in each ‘level of response’ and through ‘the time frame of activity,’ as they move from their crises to their desired change.  We will offer how our understanding of shalom transformation (spiritual, psycho-social, socio-political, and economic-ecological) would guide their journey towards their desired future.

 

May this vision be counted as one of the many prayers for the transformation of our beloved country.  May God bring genuine peace and reconciliation among our people and in our land!

 

 

Permanent link to this article: http://waves.ca/2017/01/06/this-year-well-focus-on-establishing-par-communities-in-panay-island/

Dec 21 2016

WITH MUCH ENTHUSIASM, WE CELEBRATE CHRISTMAS 2016 WITH YOU

Throughout 2016, I’ve been focused on interacting, engaging, and working with governments, revolutionary groups, religious organizations, and civil society in sharing Peace Theology in the socio-political context of the Philippines. Joji’s focus is developing inclusive development initiatives, primarily through coffee, in advancing economic-ecological transformation.

We celebrate the birth of Jesus with much excitement, perhaps even more enthusiastic, as we think of the current journey of our people in the Philippines.

The first major message of the Christmas story is “Peace on Earth!” Why? Because the socio-historical context of the Christmas story was unpeace:

We’re happy to be embraced by the indigenous peoples of Mindanao. Joji’s tribal name is Lakambini Mapayapa; mine is Lakan Sumulong.

The celebration of Christmas must be a celebration of the fact that God is with us — Emmanu-El. This brings hope and peace to the people oppressed by a system of unpeace.

If this is the kind of celebration we’re celebrating, then we can really say that our Christmas celebration is In-God (en Theos) — thus, en-Theos-siastic, or enthusiastic!

May we experience the just and liberating Peace that Jesus brings. May your Christmas celebration be really enthusiastic!

 

A BENEDICTION

 

Do not be dismayed
by the brokenness of the world.

All things break.
All things can be mended.


Not with time,
as they say,
but with intention.


So go.
Love intentionally,
extravagantly,
unconditionally.


The broken world awaits in darkness
for the light
that is you.

 

~ L. R. Knost

 

 

Permanent link to this article: http://waves.ca/2016/12/21/with-much-enthusiasm-we-celebrate-christmas-2016-with-you/

Nov 30 2016

BONIFACIO DAY, GENUINE LAND REFORM, AND THE GOSPEL OF PEACE

image

This afternoon, I celebrated the 153rd birthday of Gat Andres Bonifacio — the founder of our people’s revolution against the oppressive Spanish and American colonial rule. I walked with, and listened to, a major people’s movement who have been consistently fighting for the liberation of our country from US imperialist militarization, and from the exploitative presence of neo-liberal economic policies that corrupt our government, impoverish our people, and destroy our environment.

Although I do not agree with the use of armed struggle in advancing radical transformation, I love and respect these people who are sticking their necks out for the justice and peace that our people have been seeking for centuries.

One of the consistent cry of our people is genuine land reform:

Implement land reform as a matter of democratic right and social justice, as the foundation of economic development and as a method of liberating the landless tillers, releasing capital, promoting rural development and creating a domestic market.

The accumulated rent paid to the landlords for many decades by a majority of the people, the landless tillers, has long paid so many times over for the market value of the land. This social injustice must end. Through land reform, the landless tillers achieve economic, social, political and cultural liberation. Land reform brings about the substance of democracy among the peasant masses who comprise the majority of the people.

As a result of land reform, the domestic market is expanded because of the increased income of the peasants. Capital is released instantly for industrialization if half of the compensation to the landlords is in the form industrial bonds invested in certain industries. The peasants can assure the people of adequate food supply and raw materials for food, chemical and other types of manufacturing. Rural development can be achieved by developing cooperative and integrating agriculture, animal husbandry, fishery, forestry, handicrafts and rural industries.

JustPeace.Ph

How can we have genuine land reform when the institutional church owns most of the best arable lands and commercial real estate properties in this country, second only to the government? And most, if not all, of these lands were acquired through violent, oppressive colonial claims, misusing the name of Christ! This religious land grabbing was done using a religious and globally-propagated lie called The Doctrine of Discovery. This doctrine was the basis of the current legal framework of land ownership called The Regalian Doctrine.

And here we are, missionaries of the Gospel or the Good News, preaching the Peace of Christ among impoverished rural folks struggling to get rid of this oppressive land ownership perpetuated by local landlords — who are also the political dynasties in most provinces, who are also well-represented in our legislative processes and executive offices of the government.

It takes a lot of repentance and humility on our part as people of the church to really be consistent with the message of the Gospel. And yet, most church people still thinks that the church is solely for the purpose of saving souls from hell, for individualistic consumption of a certain ‘spiritual high’ needed after a hellish week at work, at school, at home, at play; for many of the church people, social concerns, like land ownership, will have to be left in the hands of the government, non-government organizations, and corporations.

I will persevere in leading our small organizations, PeaceBuilders Community and Coffee For Peace, to talk and walk our vision — Harmony with the Creator (spiritual transformation); Harmony with our Being (psycho-social transformation); Harmony with Others (socio-political transformation); and, Harmony with the Creation (economic-ecological transformation).

This, for us, is Good News.

Peace is Gospel.

 

Permanent link to this article: http://waves.ca/2016/11/30/bonifacio-day-genuine-land-reform-and-the-gospel-of-peace/

Nov 06 2016

MY SPIRIT JOINS MY FELLOW MENNONITES WHO STAND WITH ‘STANDING ROCK’

defendthesacred2016

I stand with the Indigenous Peoples of Turtle Island at the Standing Rock. (Photo by Hufftington Post)

As I worship the Great Creator today, I’m praying for the Indigenous Peoples of the great Turtle Island (North America) who are being united now by the Great Spirit as they continue to struggle against the unjust and oppressive colonization of their ancestral domains by the United States of America. I highly respect the IPs of Turtle Island for choosing prayerful, spiritually energized, active non-violent approach in their centuries-long struggle.

mennonitebanner-standingrockMy spirit joins my fellow Mennonites who went to Standing Rock to stand with the peoples of the Turtle Island in defending their sacred land and water.  It was my fellow Mennonites who introduced me to the concept of the Doctrine of Discovery as a European Christian’s “violent history of land grabbing and genocide that was justified by patriotism and religion. This same theology formed an international legal structure that continues to dispossess Indigenous Peoples of their land.” Along with my Mennonite global community, I’m asking myself, as both a victim (Malay people colonized by Spain) and a beneficiary (Canadian citizen): “What does it mean to be a peacemaker today in a world where the present is defined by the violence of the past?”

We are also experiencing the same unjust and oppressive presence of the USA in our beautiful islands (which the colonizers named after the Spanish king, Philip; thus, Philippines). I identify with the suffering of the original peoples of Turtle Island. The Americans killed hundreds of thousands of my people too.

And now, our islands are still being exploited and militarized by USA to protect their masters — the greedy corporations who destroy our land through mining. We have been sold out by our oligarch politicians to the USA through onerous foreign policy–specifically by signing the manipulative, war-mongering deals such as the Enhanced Defense Cooperative Agreement (EDCA) and the Visiting Forces Agreement (VFA).

My supplication before the Creator is that, our people and our government would be awakened from our colonial mindset and set ourselves free from American manipulative presence — through their war-oriented religion, through their militarized relief and development activities, and through their political-economic manipulations. I pray that our people and our government would be courageous enough to scrap the Enhanced Defense Cooperative Agreement (EDCA) and the Visiting Forces Agreement (VFA) with the USA. May our people finally liberate ourselves and our land from the exploitative and imperialist presence of the US in these rich and beautiful islands.

And likewise, may the Indigenous Peoples of Turtle Island finally liberate themselves from the colonial oppression of the USA starting with the current united, multi-tribal protection of their sacred land and water at the Standing Rock. The Great Spirit empowers the Indigenous Peoples of Turtle Island! The Lord of History is on the side of the Indigenous Peoples of Mother Earth!

Amen.

 

Stand with Standing Rock:
A STATEMENT FROM THE MENNONITE DOCTRINE OF DISCOVERY COALITION
Written by Anita Amstutz

As Mennonites, many who have been a people of the land, we understand the gift of creation and see the powers arrayed against our community’s clean air, water and soil today. We call upon all people of all faiths to take a stand, speak out, and walk with those who are who “standing in the way” of the ongoing desecration of the earth and her peoples.

Today, Indigenous people are the ones leading us in nonviolent action and prayer, calling us all to protect the sacred trust of water. The Standing Rock Sioux Nation (Oceti Sakowin) of North Dakota have chosen to reclaim their sacred burial sites and ancestral homeland next to the Missouri River. It was given to them in the U.S. Treaty of 1851, but revoked by our state and federal governments. A private corporation is seeking to construct an oil pipeline on this land without an agreement from the Standing Rock Nation. The Dakota Access Pipeline (DAPL) would carry billions of gallons of oil from the North Dakota Bakken oil fields through farmlands, run under the Missouri river in two places, and would cross rural communities and sensitive water and wildlife habitat. It is the Standing Rock Sioux’s and many rural communities’ only source of water. As the Standing Rock Nation has reminded all of us, water is a sacred trust: Mni Wiconi or “Water is life.”

The pipeline is a violation of sovereign rights, human rights and the rights of nature. As Christians, we know that right livelihood requires care for people and God’s creation first and foremost. To this end, we call upon all our leaders and the people of Jesus’ way to stand with land-based people in this struggle happening now for land and water sovereignty and human rights through practices of prayer, presence and offerings toward public defense:

I. Prayer

Congregational prayer: Invite your congregations to surround and encompass the people holding nonviolent peaceful vigil at Standing Rock on the front lines every Sunday between now and Thanksgiving. We need “spiritual warriors” who can surround the people there in Divine love and light.Fast for a day: Invite friends and your community to a day of prayer and fasting on November 4, a day of action when 100 gathered clergy will hold a peaceful vigil with the people at Standing Rock. It is also a day of policy advocacy by a Mennonite faith-based delegation to Washington D.C. on behalf of the Miskitu people, whose lands are threatened in Nicaragua, and the Wayana people of Suriname.

II. Presence

Peaceful witness: If you are interested in being part of a Mennonite faith-based delegation to Standing Rock, please fill out this form at the Doctrine of Discovery Coalition’s website.There is also a clergy witnessorganized by the Episcopalian Church of North Dakota at Standing Rock on November 4.

III. Public defense funds

Funds are needed for the legal defense of nonviolent protestors who have been arrested and incarcerated. Support them here.

 

Permanent link to this article: http://waves.ca/2016/11/06/my-spirit-joins-my-fellow-mennonites-who-stand-with-standing-rock/

Oct 30 2016

OUR HIGHER HOPE AS WE WALK WITH THE INDIGENOUS PEOPLES

I’m happy that the current Secretary of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources, Ms. Gina Lopez, has been expressing his support to the plight of the Indigenous Peoples!

But here’s a higher reality of Hope: With or without the assurance of DENR, the Indigenous People’s inherent power will endure any attempt of eviction initiated by big corporations, military, police, and government agencies. The voices of their spiritual leaders are clear: The Creator, the Great Spirit, the Lord of History is on their side. With or without the government, with or without the non-government organizations, with or without the church organizations, the IPs will prevail.

We, who support them, can only walk with them at their invitation and by their permission. It’s their march. It’s their journey. It’s their destiny.

The more I listen to their spiritual leaders, the more I sense that the Mother Earth have called the IPs to be the healers of this sick world. The Age of the Indigenous Peoples is the New Healing Age.

It’s just a matter of time-event-people-nature harmonization.

May the Creator of all peoples be praised!

 

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Permanent link to this article: http://waves.ca/2016/10/30/our-higher-hope-as-we-walk-with-the-indigenous-peoples/

Oct 26 2016

IN SEARCH OF THE ASIAN WITHIN ME: A PHILOSOPHICAL-THEOLOGICAL JOURNEY

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Long time ago, in another universe, I dreamed of the Filipino people getting closer to Asia. I grew up in an American-dominated religious community and I felt I needed to get to know the Asian in me. So, I went to the Asian Center at the University of the Philippines and completed a master’s degree in Asian Studies. My research interest was on Post-Mao China when Deng Xiaoping adopted a more pragmatic approach towards building the People’s Republic of China.

However, my family and I ended up living in Vancouver. We were immersed in a Chinese community and I studied TaiChi under a local ‘sifu’ (teacher). I took the discipline seriously and enjoyed harmonious connection with nature.

I continued searching for the Asian in me, philosophically and theologically, at the Vancouver School of Theology, University of British Columbia. I started integrating the Western and the Eastern aspects of my understanding of Reality.

With the new development happening in our foreign policy, I guess I have to review my Mandarin and update my academic interest on East Asian Studies, particularly China.

My youthful dream to become a part of a generation to reconnect our people to our Asian roots is still alive and kicking. And at 60, it seems I’ll have the opportunity to watch and see our people embrace our own history, minimizing, if not eliminating, the imposition of the American lenses through which we were trained to understand reality. For most of our people, this is like going through a withdrawal syndrome from a long addictive Western cultural and historical comfort zone. We will be facing much uncertainty and discomfort as we go back home to Asia.

So help us, Lord of History and God of Justice!

 

Permanent link to this article: http://waves.ca/2016/10/26/in-search-of-the-asian-within-me-a-philosophical-theological-journey/