Politics and the Poor

Politics and the Poor

by Melba Maggay

It is cause for rejoicing that in the past four decades, there has been a growing awareness that the church should somehow be involved and make a difference in the massive poverty that has engulfed this country.

In the early 70’s, you could count on your fingers the number of evangelical organizations doing what has come to be called as ‘wholistic ministry.’ Today, there are thousands doing ‘transformational development,’ or, in the language of the Micah Global Network, ‘integral mission.’ Micah Global is a coalition of more than 800 faith-based development organizations worldwide.

It is in the field of politics, of making democratic institutions work, that the churches have been reluctant to step out and speak truth to the powers. While we have seen a movement towards putting Christians into office, we have yet to see a political engagement that is theologically informed and truly consistent with the concern for righteousness in our governance. This is partly due to deficiencies in our theological paradigms, and the fear of being allied with forces whose morals and ideological leanings we suspect.

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A Case Study on Christian Political Engagement

A Case Study on Christian Political Engagement

In 2004, our country witnessed for the first time Evangelical and Born-again Christians becoming vocal and intensely involved in the political scene. More Evangelical Christians were engaged in partisan politics as they supported the first Christian candidate running for the highest office in the land. This was unprecedented because the person running for presidency happens to be a pastor and founder of one of the largest church in the Philippines, boasting of more than 2 million members all over the archipelago. And in the recent election season of 2010, Evangelical Christians has once again stepped into the limelight and further intensified their involvement. And for the second time, the same pastor runs for presidency. This time however, many Evangelicals opted for voter’s education while others remained to be partisan.

Given this background, this case study seeks to highlight Christian political engagement in a certain rural area of the country and showcase the impact of their engagement to the wider community. The study also presents the impact of the trainings conducted by the ISACC (Institute for Studies in Asian Church and Culture) advocacy team for good governance on the churches who participated in the series of seminars held in 2009 and early 2010. Also presented in the study is the process of how these Churches developed their understanding of political engagement and how they practically applied a Christian framework for their engagement.

The case study will focus on the municipality of Buenavista in the province of Marinduque. Marinduque is an Island composed of 6 municpialities, in which Buenavista is one of the largest. The Municipality of Buenavista is comprised of 15 baranggays, with each baranggay having an Evangelical church presence. The Association of pastors and Christian leaders in Buenavista is known as BCLEF (Buenavista Christian Leaders Ecumenical Fellowship). BCLEF was formally organized in December 2008.

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God’s Kingdom and the transformation of society

God’s Kingdom and the transformation of society

By Dion A. Forster
2012

Rob Bell writes that, “A Christian should get very nervous when the flag and the Bible start holding hands. This is not a romance we want to encourage”. Many Christians would agree with this statement in principle yet in practise the lines seperating Church and State are not always that easy to distinguish.

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