Sunday, March 14, 2010

Random thoughts

Someone recently reminded me to share stories of how God is changing our country, one person and one group at a time.
I recall an incident when I was in my final year in college. Out of the blue, a thought comes to me to purchase a notebook and call it “random thoughts on cluttered wisdom.” Nothing came out of that notebook.
Now more than 30 years later, I will once more share my random thoughts, this time with individuals who, in one way or another, are making the Dilaab journey with me.

I still recall his stare: they were from incredulous, even suspicious, eyes. I could not blame him; after all, what was this priest who was speaking before candidates to the May 2010 elections really trying to achieve?
My friend was one of 24 candidates from the town of Barobo, Surigao del Sur who attended the discernment integrity recollection for candidates last 16 and 20 February. This was the longest recollection so far, all of one and a half days. The parish priest and his assistant really did a good job in convincing them to “waste” time. After all, the gathering did not bring in voters or the media. It was a sacred space for listening to God.
On the Sunday after the recollection, the candidates signed a meaningful covenant at the 6 am mass.
My friend was now smiling.

Our Roman Catholic bishops have called on the faithful to be involved in “principled partisan politics.” What do they mean?
I got part of the answer during a recent recollection for candidates in Tagbilaran. While being members of the same Charismatic community, the candidates came in different political colors. They adopted the term being promoted by CiDE: candidates have “co-candidates,” not political opponents. While still a long way from eradicating political violence, this language moves away from the Maguindanao syndrome.
Some of the participants in the recollection were no strangers to violence. One was happy to note that his name had to do with “life” (“vita”). “One day several years ago,” he said, “I was a political candidate in our town and I was part of this group that was ambushed.” He then showed us his tell-tale scars.
“While I was down,” he continued, “I still managed to call upon God to save me.”
He now runs as an independent and, with very little resources, is unafraid since he feels it is God who is calling him to serve.
We pray for the safety of all our candidates.

When I was a little boy, I had the typical tendency to choose my food. My father had a very effective way of dealing with this defect.
He would fire up my imagination by telling me that each food group actually played a critical role in the defense of my body. Rice granules, for instance, were foot soldiers ready to engage minute enemies. Eggs were aircraft carriers. Tomatoes were grenades. Bananas were submarines. So on and so forth.
His approach was indeed convincing. This was my first exposure to a communication plan that changed behavior because it entered the world of its target audience.
Dilaab is blessed with very committed volunteers from the world of communications. They advise us on how to focus on a single message and that less is more. They have been with us in our defining moments as a movement.
Jesus was a great communicator. He used images that people understood and he embodied their deepest aspirations.
Elections 2010 offer an opportunity to evangelize politics.


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