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Several areas of intervention (thrusts) for BEC political involvement political action

  • still valid, but it has limitations
  • basically confrontational politics; defensive posture; struggles like this happen when things become critical
  • win some, lose many (sometimes, the effectiveness of such big events depend on the media; and when it becomes that, it reaches saturation point; the next time something like this happens again the media will not cover anymore
  • second level of confrontation :not just the event that happens, but what can happen before and after;
  • e.g. one BEC, fought for clean elections; but after the elections, they were regularly checking / scrutinizing the budget of the local govt;
  • not just defensive but proactive, vigilant
- this will go a long way in terms of politicizing people 3.raising our own myths
  • it is not enough that we are right; but how do we convince people that we are right?
  • raising a lot of myths: myths are not something fictitious, but concepts that resonate in our hearts, storytelling; raise arguments that people can relate to emotionally, not just producing all sorts of analysis that people can grasp intellectually, but not emotionally; if we are able to affect people emotionally, then we perhaps we can convince them.
  • no rational explanation for the phenomenon Erap; Erap is a myth. Myths do not die; they can only be replaced by a more powerful myth. Another myth we have is American benevolence. Create arguments that have emotional relevance
4.having a sense of ‘country’
      • Filipinos have a very weak sense of ‘country’

What do we need to empower people economically?

Econ. Situation before:

Small farming system: What was served to us by our lolas were taken from the backyard. Self-reliant in food: food in the backyard was enough to sustain the family. 80% of the farmers have savings. Now 80% of our farmers have utang. With Green Revolution, we became dependent on others. We imported the seeds, which needed imported fertilizers. We had to import machines, because of which we had to borrow money. We depend on resources from outside. What do we do?

    1. Build on our own resources.

    2. But we need to regenerate them again. Until now, we have so much land; so

      much diversity (3,000 varieties of seed)

    3. We do not compete with the existing system. We allow it. But we need to develop our own industry. We need to develop our own technology and capability.
    4. Decentralize. If we have 10,000 BECs with their own economic activity, that would mean 10,000 economic activities! Even if only half of that…
    5. Create our own system.

    6. Not to compete, but to have a direction, clear direction where we want to go five years from now.

    7. Don’t make a farmer a businessman. Make a farmer a good farmer. And make businessmen better businessmen and socially responsible.
Comments from farmer – participants (Butuan, Pagadian)
      • the church has not been for and with farmers. Kung ang simbahan ay nakikiisa sa buhay ng magsasaka, wala na sanang problema
      • the problem is not economic; it is political. Maski na anong kayod ang gawin ng magsasaka, mahirap pa rin siya.

(commenting on pagbebenta ng boto)

Nanalo ang mga kandidato ni Erap! Nasaan ang lahat ng formation?

Ang pagbabago ba talaga ay nadadala sa formation? Harapin na natin ito! Bakit hindi natin mahawakan ang tao? Kung hindi natin mahawakan ang tao, paano natin mapang-hahawakan ang grupo?

BEC – hindi Manila Zoo, hindi maikukulong ang tao.

Akala natin malapit na ang simbahan sa tao. Simbahan ng Maralita? Ang layu-layo natin sa mahihirap! Napakaraming ‘gaps’. Ang lengguahe natin hindi lengguahe ng mahihirap. Ang mga simbolo natin, ang layu-layo. Ang folk religiousity, popular religiousity – hindi kasama sa katesismo; hindi kasama sa teolohiya! Hindi kasama ang teolohiya ng kainan at biruan; teolohiya ng pagpapasaya at kasayahan.

Can the mainstream church learn from the marginal church?

Can the mainstream church speak the language of the marginal church?(BECs as church at the margins)


Vote-buying – at the local level; at the national level, it is popularity that matters.

After 911, everybody thinks ‘anti-terrorism’, no one talks ‘peace’ anymore.

What happened to all the value formation?

I still believe in the power of value formation > but how are values formed? Values are in

the level of the unconscious. Movies are powerful medium. We need to ask ourselves: bakit hindi ganuon ka-powerful ang Christian values?


Three general points:

  • Experience of church…’Church’ one word but different connotations. Do we understand this word in the same way? Polyvalent. Church is a ‘many-splendored thing’.
  • BECs – many apprehensions, misunderstandings, bec.we have gotten used to thinking of church in a monovalent way

    Vat.II – church is a complex reality; every single manifestation is incomplete

    BECs – a vibrant way of expressing and experiencing church

    Resistance – because we have been comfortable to think the church is always the same. MOs, priestly life, ecclesial management were all products of their time; we have been comfortable in these ways. No one form of being church can capture the total reality of the church.

    Mahirap maging ‘fixated’. 100 years from now, ang BEC naman ang poproblemahin at tatawaging’old way’.

    Can we be more discerning? Subjected to the signs of the times, in the spirit of the Word of God, daring to listen?

    We believe that our discernment, with the whole world, the gift of the Holy Spirit to us is BEC – the most appropriate, most viable way to experience Church in our times

    BECs a modified manifestation of renewal of the church and mission: if Church does not involved (in socio-pol-econ), what is happening to this church? BECs – a gift of renewal, a ferment of renewal for the church

    Renewal – does not mean inventing new things, but biblically – to make things

    better BECs as ferment of renewal – a superior way, a better way of experiencing church The church becomes more church, more ministering, more just, more….thru BECs. People should be able to say of BECs: "Now, this is better…." What concerns me now is culture. Culture as a way of doing things. Prevailing ecclesiastical culture in the church: dominant way of doing things, style of managing, priestly life. Culture of BEC is participatory. Can BECs evangelize the prevailing church culture? (e.g. ‘ang pari hindi lumalapit sa pagkain, ang pagkain ang lumalapit sa pari’ – someone quoted this to him upon seeing him lining up for food)

    In the BECs, can the culture of the poor somehow influence the mainstream church culture? BECs question the dominant culture of the church : the way of managing church life; the way of experiencing leadership, etc. . Will the pastors open the dominant culture of the church to be influenced by the culture of the poor?

    There is so much to be seen in the culture of the poor in BECs that could be the salvation of the church in general. (‘Barrio culture’ - Shared a story of barrio/BEC celebration of the Easter vigil. With all its ‘mistakes’ – lector cannot see and read the text because it was so dark, curtain not falling on time, etc. – was the happiest and most unforgettable easter vigil experience): They have seen worst mistakes in their lives. Their realism is a source of hope. Will this realism be able to penetrate the culture of the mainstream church? Perhaps, if it does, then the church will not be petty.

    Comments from participants:

          • (professor from QC); kultura ng masa ay kultura ng komersyalismo…
      How to talk to the poor? The rich cannot talk to the poor – totally different languages. Different not just in words, but in entire cultures. Part of the language of the poor is image, emotion (cf. melodrama success). Jesus spoke to people in the language of parables. Talking to the poor – not a matter of preaching.
      Kultura – malikot, nagbabago

    Yung sinasabi natin ngayong kulturang Pinoy, ito ay produkto na ng kulturang dinala ng mga mananakop, ng mga unang misyoneryo.

    Pananakop, panghihimasok (ang Pilipino ay may kulturang ‘Tao po!’ ‘Tuloy!’). Dahil sa pananakop na ito, tayo ay ‘nawala sa sarili’.

    BEC – kung saan mo makikita dapat ang iyong sarili – sa isang pamayanan.

    Comment from participant (bishop, Mindanao): difference bet. urban and rural culture),

    Sense of community – common sa tribal, neighborhood, baranggay level, pero hindi na sa wider society.
    DE QUIROS: sense of family ang malakas sa Pinoy.. Family (clannish, regionalism) ang fundamental dynamics ng Pinoy culture.

    ALEJO: BECs okay sa rural culture. Difficult sa urban culture, ibaba na dapat ang expectations ng organizing BECs sa urban setting. Sa urban areas may dagdag na hirap ang mga mahihirap: the poor are not in their own land, walang past memories – they lack rootedness; and rootedness is very important in developing a sense of belonging. Belongingness – most important element in organizing a community. Mas anonymous communities, mas mahirap i-organize. In urban settings, BECs can co-exist with MOs.

    Comment from participant (priest, Manila): BEC as human communities that answer the need for belongingness, shared his experience on organizing BECs in urban poor areas.

    MANNY DE GUZMAN: Success of BEC is relative to the context within which BEC emerges. Urban, rural – iba ang ina-address na situation.

    MANNY GABRIEL: BECs as ‘one way’, ‘the way’ , ‘option’ for being church – should be seen in the context of mission: what is the mission of the church? The mission of the church defines who we are. The church does not define the mission of the church. Direction of the church according to PCP-II: Church of the Poor. MOs, priests: is the direction of your mission for the poor?

    One way, the way > not a question of option but direction > TO THE POOR.

    CHITO TAGLE: BECs as a renewing presence in the Church. Very easy for transparochial communities to really ‘float’. But there is something about a street, a certain neighborhood, block 12-purok 2. If people ask you where do you live? You cannot say trans-Avenida. You are rooted in a place. (BEC as local church).


        • affirmed participants for committing their lives to BEC-organizing
        • will use biblical exposition using Mark 3: 1-6
    Jesus healing a crippled man in a synagogue on a Sabbath – sacred time and sacred space. Pharisees watching him. Jesus asked: What is more important? Do good or do harm? Save life or kill? (saying this while looking at the cripple; afterwhich which he looked at the Pharisees angrily – mula ulo hanggang paa; makuha ka sa tingin.

    Then Jesus asked the cripple to stand in the center. This is very unusual. The cripple is a person who is excluded. He should not be in the center. Then Jesus asked him to stretch out his hand and healed him. The Pharisees left and from then on plotted to kill him. Why? Because he chose to do good than to harm. To save life, rather than kill.

    What do BECs offer to people? What is the unique contribution of BEC to the local church? For BEC organizers and formators, the presence of the crippled man in the synagogue on a Sabbath:

        1. The Spirit of God is already present in the community we are going to organize.
        2. Unique contribution of BEC: to reach out to the different, to reach out to the excluded, to those who are treated differently in society, and to put them in the center. To include an excluded, to respect that person: through this, we will experience the goodness of God.

        3. Jesus’ act of inclusion – ‘of such is the reign of God…’

        4. The act of Jesus on a Sabbath in a synagogue to bring another to the community of life and love is not only an act of humanism, but an act of religiousity, of worshipping God.
    Contribution of BEC: that you have made people who are not part of the society to belong again.

    "Nakakaranas ang mga tao ng pira-pirasong kaginhawaan sa BEC!"

    People experience fragments of salvation in BEC.

    Comments from participants:

    (religious, Antique): When we go to the poor, we gamble the image of God. Measure of the effect of BEC is in how we have made people’s lives better.

    (layman, Bohol): to be faithful to the mission of Jesus. If we do this, we are on the right track.

    (religious, Samar): we still dichotomize – between spiritual and social or political. The drawing / bible exposition eliminated that dichotomy. There is integration, and in that integration, there can be healing.

    (lay missionary, Bontoc): shared on experience of church in the Phils.

    DE GUZMAN: Jesus was affected by that sick person, that was why he was moved (compasiion) to reach out to him. We are organizing BECs because we are moved by people’s poverty and oppression. But this does not mean that we are working for the poor, but the encounter as a mutual conversion process.

    St. Augustine: If you cannot make me better than I am, why are you talking to me?

    The Spirit of the Lord is within us if we had become better persons. People at the BECs could be asking us: if you could not make me better than I am, why are you talking to me?

    How do we know the Spirit of the Lord is in BEC? How do we know the Spirit of the Lord is in BEC? If it has made people better men and women.

    Comment from participant (lay woman, Marinduque): Lumilinaw na ang direksyong aming patutunguhan. Liberational dapat ang approach.


    (Told the story of a well-to-do family wanting to buy a house in a posh village. After final arrangements have been made, agent learned that buyer was Moslem. The family was refused. 4 year old daughter asked father: What is wrong about being a Moslem?)

    What kind of BEC can be organized in this village? One way of evaluating BECs: is it excluding some people? Challenge to BECs : can it include everyone? BECs as community of families. But many families are broken. Can BECs include single mothers, unwed couple, married priests, gays…?

    Shared comments on Mark 2, another story of healing:

    Sick man was healed because of the faith of friends, of companionship

    A faith that does something: isang pananampalatayang hindi naggi-give up, isang pananampalatayang tumitingin sa paligid at naghahanap kung may paraan pa, isang pananampalatayang naghahanap ng hagdan, isang pananampalatayang umaakyat sa bubong, isang pananampalatayang nambubutas ng istruktura.

    Jesus rewards the creativity of the faith of friends.

    BECs as a community of friends. Community that is creative in discerning different forms of Christian living. WE must find a way, a way that seeks new ways.

    DE GUZMAN: told a story about how storytelling saved a community. Story telling in BECs: the story of our lives, retelling the one great story of the man Jesus who set us free – stories that will be retold through the generations. What stories are healing and life-saving?