Episcopal Church in the Philippines Video

Thanks to Episcopal Cafe I just watched the Australia Board of Missions video on the ECP - The Episcopal Church in the Philippines. It is a fine short hint of the task facing the Church in the Philippines as it attempts to engage its own history as a church and the history and culture of its peoples. Very well done indeed! Thanks to Episcopal Cafe "the Lead" and to the ABM team.


  1. As a Canon of this church Father Mark and having experience in this church, can you perhaps try to explain the points of the young seminary graduate who did a lot of the commentary in this video. I did not understand a lot of his point regarding salvation and the land as well as Jesus having an Asian spirituality. At this point I am not in agreement with what he said, for example I cannot see a lot that Jesus' spirituality of 2000 years ago would have in common with Philippine spirituality today, or at any time in the past.

    It also strikes me as a bit strange that he speaks of the indigenous people as though they are something apart from who he is. As far as I can see, he himself is indigenous. I would never speak that way regarding us here in Mexico. I am indigenous, my family has the blood of the ancestors.

  2. Hermano David:

    Thanks for the good questions. I can respond, not as some one from the Philippines, but as a friend. Maybe I'll get it more or less right.

    The matter of salvation and land: This is many layered - The people of the Philippines have been occupied from 1565 to 1946 - 380 give or take a very short revolutionary period. The land, both collectively for the whole people and for particular tribal goups was a central means of self-identification and I think (only think) that the speaker was echoing the the health / salvation of the people of particular tribal peoples, as well as for the whole people of the Philippines was bound up in the land as particular, and holy, and the gift of God to them. The speaker hinted to the idea that this identification of the land with salvation is not unlike the understanding of Israel of the place of the land in their sense of being kept whole and saved.

    About Jesus having an Asian spirituality, this has been one of the elements of an ongoing conversation in East Asia about how and under what circumstances is there a sense of identification between the Asian believer and the person Jesus. He was in so many ways a Jew from the middle east, how was he also an Asian?

    One option was to recast Jesus as an Asian. In the 1980s there was an effort to talk about Jesus with Asian features, as a way of identification. On some levels that worked, but it really asked the question on a deeper level...what is there about Jesus that is universal, or at least closely available to people not "his own."?

    So there arose the idea that in Jesus one could find a concluding or continuing of a spirituality already present in a culture. I think that is where the speaker was going. I am not at all sure what "Philippine spirituality" is today, or yesterday, but my guess is that the identification is with certain virtues of Asian spiritual practice (self-emptying is very much like non-attachment in some ways). There is a lot to do there, but that will have to wait.

    The matter of talking about indigenous people. Some speakers in the Philippines, who may be of European and East Asian background will speak of indigenous people meaning people of various tribal or regional groupings who maintain a separate sense of their own family/ culture that predates and is independent of the larger Philippine population. So the speaker may be saying that he is not an indigenous person, or that "they" are indigenous, and he is not, for a whole variety of reasons, not the least of which is to avoid the mistake that I might make by claiming to speak in any way for people of the Philippines.

    Anyway that is a beginning.

    What I appreciated about the video is that it was unabashedly an East Asian / Filippino view of how followers of Jesus view their following.


OK... Comments, gripes, etc welcomed, but with some cautions and one rule:
Cautions: Calling people fools, idiots, etc, will be reason to bounce your comment. Keeping in mind that in the struggles it is difficult enough to try to respect opponents, we should at least try.