In a very timely article, at the beginning of the National Council of Churches in the Philippines general conference, the website Ekklesia carries a report from the United Methodist News Service (US) featuring the Anglican priest most likely to be the next general secretary, Fr. Rex Reyes. Notable quote: “Christianity is not just a social club.” While I am sure he is addressing that to Christians in general, I have no doubt that he is addressing his fellow Episcopalians, both those in expat-heavy Holy Trinity in Forbes Park and in the relatively poor Resurrection Episcopal Church in Fairview. He is the latter’s non-stipendiary pastor.
Meanwhile, today marks the anniversary of the birth of my great-grandfather, Jose Corazon de Jesus, a great Tagalog poet. He wrote a song which has become so synonymous with protest and with the radical Left that the Marcos regime commissioned a patriotic song to counter it in 1981. He loved his country and his Malay-Tagalog heritage very much, though I am at times uncomfortable about his tendencies toward xenophobia. But as much as he loved his country, he loved my great-grandmother, Asuncion Lacdan de Jesus (whose 11th death anniversary falls around this time too), and his three children, one of whom was my grandmother and the only one who had children.
In a way, I have both gained and lost a lot from being his great-grandchild. Most obvious to readers is that I am more comfortable speaking English and am working in environments where this tongue is used most often, and thus I have been at times ashamed about being his descendant. What has made me proud is that, having made it clear that English is now just about a Filipino a language as Filipino itself, I am willing to take on his legacy of love of country and eloquence in communication.
This is the second of the two theses that will shape a paper in the project I mentioned here in the past.
What matters in the quest to be a well-rounded person is that all knowledge is not necessarily disparate. It has to be joined not only by a love of wisdom but also by a wisdom of love. Knowledge has as its goal the liberation of the self from itself, in the direction of loving God and others. Curiosity has the object of stretching not only the mind, but also the heart, to enable empathy and sympathy within the liberated self. Ultimately, the quest to know is a quest to love.
I recently posted an announcement about the Heidegger seminar here, but I would want to add my own note: analytic philosophers are especially invited.
This arose from an idea within the project I previously mentioned on this blog; of course, being a “thesis statement” like those who have taken philosophy at the Ateneo de Manila may know, it is really a short statement that demands explanation.
Or probably it falls under the category of an abstract for something much longer, which it is.
The Renaissance ideal of a well-rounded person, their interpretation of the Greco-Roman homo liberi, is one which cannot be lost even in a highly specialized world. Education’s goal ought to be to awaken an unending and rigorous curiosity in a person such that they can be able to speak knowledgeably about a variety of areas of human endeavor. While not all can really be “Renaissance men and women,” the end is to make this possibility real in contemporary society. Any form of social/professional specialization should be grounded in an awareness of the general, of the whole, and must arise from there.
Next time, I will add the second thesis of this longer piece.
Today, I visited Arrupe House almost by accident. The international residence set up by the Jesuits on the Ateneo grounds hosts many of my classmates who happen to come from outside the Philippines, and two or three who come from here. I was with a former classmate who now happens to be teaching at the Theology Department after spending her “regency” at an office a few floors down from where I am now.
The occasion was the birth centennial of Fr. Pedro Arrupe, the Jesuit superior who defined the contemporary course Jesuits have taken. While a few course corrections have been made, especially by the more conservative elements within the Catholic Church, the Jesuits have made it clear that they stand for what, in short, is a “faith that does justice.”
If it were not for Pedro Arrupe’s vision, and his willingness to make bold choices, I would not be where I am now. If only the Philippine Anglicans had some of that spirit.
One of my suspicions about the Philippine political psyche is that there will come a time, not too long from now, when people—if so prompted—will clamor for less democracy, not more. I do not have any empirical evidence for this view, but I have long suspected that such views are popular among the upper and middle classes and some religious movements here such as the Iglesia ni Cristo.
I do not know whether to join in that clamor, or to oppose it. But I know that will not be helped if my contribution to that debate is unnuanced, un-thought-out, and, as a friend helpfully reminded me earlier, insulting. Such contributions only add to that clamor.
I promise to be more careful next time. Democracy is something we take for granted too often.
A friend of mine on another social network posted a link to this, and I answered it. I must point out that the real Myers-Briggs Type Indicator has probably twice as many items, and that there was a tie between the J(udging)/P(erceiving) trait scores when I took that test in 1999, meaning that I can be characterized as both.
You Are An E(xtrovert) (i)N(tuitive) F(eeling) P(erceiving) [type—my addition for those unfamiliar with the test.]
You love being around people, and you are deeply committed to your friends.
You are also unconventional, irreverent, and unimpressed by authority and rules.
Incredibly perceptive, you can usually sense if someone has hidden motives.
You use lots of colorful language and expressions. You’re quite the storyteller!
In love, you are quite the charmer. And you are definitely willing to risk your heart.
You often don’t follow through with your flirting or professed feelings. And you do break a lot of hearts.
At work, you are driven but not a workaholic. You just always seem to enjoy what you do.
You would make an excellent entrepreneur, politician, or journalist.
How you see yourself: compassionate, unselfish, and understanding
When other people don’t get you, they see you as: gushy, emotional, and unfocused
What’s Your Personality Type?
Imagine what a walk can do for you! I’m coming up with a project that will involve things I’m not being required to write.
More on that story later, but first…
Tonight marks the end of the Philippine Schools Debating Championship. Will Ateneo de Manila High reclaim the crown this year? Abangan.
Also in this weekend’s program, I give a brief list of impressions of A Generous Orthodoxy by Brian McLaren. Of course, I need not say that this is part of my project.
And we’ll see if I manage to make it to a staging of Fiddler on the Roof this afternoon.