Sorry for the literal title, I can’t think of anything fancy or thought-provoking at the moment.
News that the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) has acquired a Temporary Restraining Order for the sale of Diablo 3 (both online and on-site) has spread like wildfire on Facebook. Exponentially more people were enraged compared to those who were rejoicing with CBCP at their apparent victory. Should this be taken as the extent of the measure of the depravity of this generation?
Meanwhile, Lady GaGa’s May 21 concert had been met with protests from various Christian groups, but pushed through nonetheless. Should the rest of the evangelical community who chose to pray at the comfort of their own homes and churches be condemned for not rallying behind the other protesters who stood with candles and umbrellas under the rain? Is this again a sign of indifference towards the “evils of this world”?
For a nice take on the Lady GaGa issue, click here
While both topics were in the hype a few days ago, my devout Catholic boss left an AM radio in my workplace, that was set at the Radyo Veritas station. With everything I was getting from various media platforms that day, I was able to draw some conclusions regarding what NOT TO DO with the situation:
- Prohibition without proper education – as my friend Paul Mark once said, it has been proven time and again that banning something is the best way to make it popular. That’s what Friars did to the Noli Me Tangere, and to the first Filipino translation of the Bible. Did it work? Look at history and judge for yourself
- Threaten people with fear and punishment – Kung anong laki ng parusa ay yun din naman ang laki ng takot ng mga nagpaparusa sa bagay na ayaw nilang maganap.
- Force conformity and behavioral changes – unless people work towards changing the heart through the restoring power of Jesus Christ, no real inward change can occur, everything will be superficial. Painting dead trees in lively colors will not make them alive.
- Focusing on the enemy – more often than not, focusing on the object of spite (the game Diablo 3 or Lady GaGa) will only make it appear as if our God is so small and un-sovereign over the situation.
- Jump to (or ride with) conclusions with a minimal knowledge of the situation – not only will you look like a fool, but you might also lose the trust of a lot of people. Case in point, to ban one game because it has demonic elements that can be found in a lot of other more popular games that have been in existence for almost a decade goes to show how “narrow sighted” or “huli sa balita” some people who claim to be authoritative on the matter will be.
So, what are we TO DO instead?
- Make the life and work of the now Risen Christ the Center of your teachings – putting the enemy on the spotlight will certainly make them more popular. Putting anyone or anything (whether they be considered good or bad) other than Christ and his words on the spotlight will certainly distract the people from our dear Lord and Savior; whether it be secular influences, images and teachings of Christian saints (dead or alive) and high profile religious peoples, especially if they contradict God and his word.
I believe that the faithful preaching of God’s word is still the best way to go if we wish to see change in the people – for them to decide for themselves to follow God. And what is this central message? That God in his love sent his only son Jesus into the world; that Jesus lived a sinless life; that le laid down his life as a ransom for many; that he rose from the dead, and is at the right hand of God; and finally, that whoever believes in him shall have eternal life and be indwelt by the Holy Spirit of God, and so be changed.
2.Pray continually (1 Thessalonians 1:17) – I believe that only a nation that is consistently on their knees can ever hope to experience any sort of national revival or massive moral transformation. Occasional bursts of prayer as a response to certain events is important, but that is like comparing joining a fun run once a year versus having a regular weekly running program – the latter will certainly make one more physically fit, just as consistent and continuous prayer can make one “spiritually fit”.
3. Choose love over condemnation – Humans will pass judgment on angels and other beings, but judgment to fellow humans is reserved for Christ on the last day. We have been continually warned regarding passing judgment and condemnation on others. We have also been continually exhorted to love – love God, love your brothers and sisters in Christ, and love your neighbor as yourself. The young (and old) will surely listen to us more readily if they can feel our love and concern.
4. Invest your time in strengthening relationships with the younger generations – Whether you are a grandparent, parent, uncle, aunt, ninong, ninang, or simply an ate or kuya, you are a person of influence to the younger generation. Whether you are a good or bad influence is up to you, but of course, we all desire to be the former. Especially for parents, how well do you know your children? Who are their friends, what are their beliefs? How about your likes and dislikes? Do your children look up to you? Do the
Before you try and actively influence the youth, however, try to look at your life first. We cannot expect the younger generation to be more obedient and faithful to God than we already are (or are not).
Just a thought: Instead of condemning Lady GaGa as a devil’s tool or what not, has anyone taken the step of sharing God’s love with her or interceding on a regular basis for her to know God?
*this article was written in transit, didn’t have time to cross reference texts