July 7, 2011

Help… I am almost lost: A Spiritual Ambivalence?

Dear God,

I have this ambivalent feeling.  Much as I want to live a stress-free life to enhance healing, the situation calls for participation to continue the change we started.  I may  again offend  other people. I know  truth hurts and  have no intention to do such harm to anyone. It is not even my desire to always stand for what is true, just,  and right for it will surely create tension, friction and even stress. I love peace and serenity.  I even avoid stressful task and confine my life within regular work, meditation,  and blogging to compensate my physical limitation in service.

Yet, deep within me is the guilt feeling when I continue to remain silent amidst the search for truth. More so, when  only a few dare  to speak up, which can be easily marginalized, as others have already mastered the art of cover up and pacification. No wonder,  the problem has  become systemic and complicated, difficult to unwind. For in my desire to follow you, I feel motivated to make a stand for the way, the truth and the life.

I long for  the days when I have no keen knowledge on exploitation, oppression,  injustices, human rights violation in any system, be it in the government, church, organization and institution. When my life is confined to  traditional  ministry.  When my only concern is to spread the gospel and win souls for Christ. You know very well how I enjoy the life of an evangelist, going  up to the mountains, unaware of the risks, just to spread the message of God’s love and salvation and invite sinners to come home and receive redemption. When we do street preaching in season and out of season,  people’s reaction do not bother us, be it favorable or otherwise. We commit to you the result, without minding our limitations. I thought that would be my lifetime call. I always feel  motivated to preach the gospel. And  consider  everything, literally everything as fulfillment of your will, even my failures, shortcomings, or sheer  negligence in our part.

But changes come, not necessarily on my desire or quest. I was exposed to another environment where I have to wrestle with my traditional belief. It started with the  issue of multi-ministry against mono-ministry. Later,   the social gospel,  theology of  struggle/liberation and related issues.  You know very well how I resist any attempt to downgrade  my  conservative  beliefs. How I defend my position against  radical and progressive students who appear  to  undermine traditional practice in the name of change.

Ironically, in my attempt to minister to the political detainees to convert them (and testify later on how the hard core ideologues  are transformed into a conservative Christian), I experience the other way around.  My conversion  takes place, instead, not necessarily to their ideology or cause. But  the commitment in service. Their undaunted spirit  and dedication to minister  to the least of our brothers and sisters in need. They appear to be better  Samaritans than we Christians, nay, ministers. Ashamed of myself, for lacking that zeal,   I try to make amends.

Worse, the situation during my realization is different  from  the context of the Good Samaritan. The  victims are many, and unlike in the previous case, they  are not  left on  isolated place, needing help. I could have done the acts of  the Good Samaritan  in similar situation, immediately caring for the victim and exhaust all the means to save him. However, I  am a witness to the action:  the robbery, the violence, the oppression taking place. Not so many responded, some fear for their own safety as the perpetrators are too powerful and rude.

Most of  those who responded come from different persuasions, belief and ideologies.  Many are non religious,  radicals, activists, and even communists whom we Christians avoid. I can count with my fingers ministers of God from different religions.

Somehow, I feel  the shame for failure to respond immediately. At first,  I think  of waiting for the robbers to leave the victim after looting and follow the Good Samaritan. But I know it would be a long wait. The situation seems to prolong unless many more would help to overpower the perpetrators. I have no other choice but to stand to my Christian principle and conviction and pay the price. Thereafter, I always experience this ambivalence.

(to be continued)

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