OUR SPIRITUAL MOTIVATION IN ADVOCATING INCLUSIVE DEVELOPMENT AND SOCIAL ENTREPRENEURSHIP

Abundant Life. This is our spiritual basis for inclusive development and our perspective on sustainability. With this understanding of ‘the good life,’ we will intensify our search for excellence to be effective and efficient team who have been entrusted with running and leading PeaceBuilders Community and Coffee for Peace.

Joji “Lakambini” Pantoja gives a motivational talk before the members of the Davao Regional Coffee Council, among whom she serves as Chairperson. She’s encouraging them to think of themselves not just as coffee suppliers but to learn to be quality producers of specialty coffee and to be active and knowledgeable participant in the larger coffee industry’s value chain. Joji and her Coffee for Peace team are energized to organize, train, and mobilize coffee farmers and traders to be part of an inclusive development movement through social entrepreneurial initiatives.

Peace and Reconciliation Principles and Practices energize all our efforts and activities both in our life as PeaceBuilders Community and in our livelihood as Coffee for Peace.

We have a new set of Board of Trustees. We are already training the next generation of our executive leadership. We make sure that our board leadership and executive managers are in the same page as far as the direction and operational definitions of our twin organizations are concerned.

Eduard Brandia started working with us at Coffee for Peace since 2008. “Here at CFP,” he said, “I’m growing as a human being and not just as an employee. I mean,” he continues, “here, I have a community. We support each other.”

Abundant Life is our spiritual basis for Inclusive Development

For the PBCI-CFP Tribe, Inclusive Development is a spiritually-motivated advocacy. It comes from our understanding of Jesus’ teaching on what Abundant Life is all about.  The Greek word for “abundant” (perissos), especially in the context of John 10:10, has the idea of bountiful, plentiful, and generous living—that is, living life to the full. It is the good life. This good life is relational. It is the life based on God-centered peace, wherein the harmonious relationship with the Creator, with the Other, with one’s Being, and with the Creation is increasingly realized. Abundant Life is the good life of inclusive justice and holistic peace that Jesus talked about. 

My late theology professor, Sallie McFague, taught me that the good life for human beings in the 21st century is interdependent with the good life for Planet Earth.   She writes:

Just as the good life for human beings rests on distributive justice—all must have the basics—so also the planet must have the basics.  The earth itself must have the conditions necessary to support us, and increasingly, this means we must live so that these conditions are possible.  In other words, the good life for all human beings and for the planet is a whole—it is one good thing.  It is intertwined (like the recycle symbol): the well-being of humans is dependent on the health of the earth’s ecosystems, but these ecosystems depend on us preserving them. (Life Abundant: Rethinking Theology and Economy for a Planet in Peril, pp. 117-123)

The good life cannot be defined solely on the basis of the current mechanical-individualistic view of the world. Rather, we have to look at life and reality from an organic-relational perspective. This perspective of the good life redefines our identity; it also revolutionizes our understanding of community, of justice, and of the world. In the current neo-classical economic worldview—the worldview of neo-liberal corporations, human identity is reduced to that of being a utilitarian individual-in-the-market.  The individual-in-the-market begins with human desire, specifically the desire to amass wealth.

We always seek to listen and to understand what ‘the good life’ means to our community partners. Here, the Bagobo Tagabawa Tribal Council in Managa, Bansalan, Davao del Sur, expressed their aspirations and their imagination of what it means for their community to be developed.

We, at PBCI-CFP Tribe, dream and advocate a radical transformation of our worldview from the neo-classical economic worldview to a new ecological-economic worldview. In this new worldview, the identity of the human being is transformed from that of the individual-in-the-market to that of the individual-in-community. This model stresses on both radical individuality and uncompromising community. The individual exists within the community and the community is composed entirely of these individuals. With this new understanding of the individual-in-community, there is a high possibility of the just redistribution of common resources because the well-being of the individuals can only be realized if the well-being of the community is genuinely happening. In return, the well-being of the community happens only when the individual’s well-being is taken cared. McFague’s picture of this abundant life is noteworthy: “We see ourselves now not as striving in a linear fashion toward a golden future of material comfort that each of us must reach on our own, but as living within a circle composed of networks of interrelationship and interdependence with all other beings, human and otherwise.” (Life Abundant, p. 106).

Abundant Life is our spiritual perspective of sustainable life.

What do we mean by the term sustainable in our leadership and managerial operations?

Since the beginning of PBCI-CFP twin organizations, we have been defining sustainability as “a community’s control and prudent use of all forms of capital—nature’s capital, human capital, human-created capital, and cultural capital—to ensure, to the degree possible, that present and future generations can attain a high degree of economic security and achieve democracy while maintaining the integrity of the ecological systems upon which all life and production depends. (S. Viederman, “Sustainability’s Five Capitals and Three Pillars,” Building Sustainable Societies: A Blueprint for a Post-Industrial World, ed. Dennis C. Pirages, p. 46)

This is the reason why we are very selective in accepting funds from donors. We have been refusing funds that we believe would make us “glorified organizational mendicants” enslaved by the colonial structures and policies of many funding organizations.

Tala Alngag Bautista (Senior Vice President at Coffee for Peace) and Sihaya Ansibod (Director of Field Operations at PeaceBuilders Community) listen to the Bagobo Tagabaw coffee farmers in Binaton, Digos City, Davao del Sur. PBCI-CFP leaders and staff are trained to listen first to the dreams and aspirations of the people and what they are already doing in their own contexts. This is our way of learning what ‘the good life’ is for them.

Our view of sustainability prompted us to establish and develop Coffee for Peacean income generating project that eventually evolved into a social enterprise.

Sustainability is our social, political, and ecological vision.  It includes not only a decent basic standard of living and a democratic form of government, but also opportunities for cultural, technological, educational, social, and spiritual development. Hence, the ecological economic worldview is the good life for each person, for the community, for all people, and for the planet earth.

This is looking at life and reality as a relational whole.  We must re-train our eyes to look at the realities around us from the perspective of Abundant Life.

This year, 2020, we will pray fervently and we will work smart-and-hard to be effective and efficient members of a team who have been entrusted with running and leading PeaceBuilders Community and Coffee for Peace.

May the Creator embrace us all with love, wisdom, and peace.

Permanent link to this article: https://waves.ca/2020/02/12/our-spiritual-motivation-in-advocating-inclusive-development-and-social-entrepreneurship/

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