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    Posted February 26, 2013 by
    Muntinlupa City, Philippines
    This iReport is part of an assignment:
    Faith-shaking moments

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    The Social Gospel and Yoga For Humanity


    I was an adolescent in 1983 when my Aunt Dominga Pinera took me to  Laoag City in Ilocos Norte for a one-month vacation. It was summer  vacation then here in the Philippines. School-year at the elementary and  high school levels ends during the start of the summer season here in  my country. It was during my one-month stay in Laoag City that I started  learning about the social gospel. Aunt Dominga Pinera was the one who  taught me about the importance of applying biblical teachings into  actual social problems. Aunt Dominga is a lay preacher in the  Pentecostal Church. She was the one who taught me about the "social  gospel". The social gospel movement in Protestant churches is a movement  that applied Christian ethics to social problems, especially issues of  social justice such as excessive wealth and privileges, alcoholism,  drug-addiction, human-rights' violations, criminality, racial tensions,  slums, bad hygiene, child abuse, inadequate food, poor schools, and the  danger of violent conflicts. Theologically, the Social Gospellers sought  to put into practice the Lord's Prayer (Matthew 6:10): "Your kingdom  come, Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven. "Social gospelers "  are typically post-millennialists; that is, they believed the Second  Coming would not take place unless humankind rid itself of social evils  by human effort. Hence, social gospel actually teaches the reality that  being religious doesn’t mean being self-centered and forgetting about  doing good things in the community.

    Aunt  Dominga convinced me to attend Pentecostal church services while I was  vacationing in Laoag City. Though a Catholic, I was quite liberal about  going to non-Catholic churches even during my adolescence. Aunt Dominga  took me to places where she met with battered wives, exploited  child-laborers and farmers who were then demanding better farm-to-market  roads. I would usually accompany my aunt in trying to petition the  local government of Laoag City to make the roads much better for the  farmers who were then demanding dependable and durable farm-to-market  roads, so their their crops would reach the market at a much faster  pace. My aunt would later coordinate with local government agencies in  trying to locate child-laborers, so such kids can be rehabilitated. I  also assisted my aunt in giving out leaflets to battered wives. The  leaflets contained information about what legal steps such battered  woman would do. My aunt did such activities with the support of the  official pastor of the local Pentecostal church. My aunt made me realize  that spreading the Good News would also mean spreading kindness to  those who need help.

    The experience  that I had in Laoag City, Ilocos Norte wherein I got to know what social  gospel was all about led me to being a socially-responsible Christian. I  started joining ecumenical prayer-rallies right after being exposed to  social gospel. I would later become an activist for good or worthy  causes who has a strong faith in God. Such one-month vacation gave me  the opportunity to know the social realities at a young age.

    In  2005 I became part of a yoga group in San Pedro, Laguna. Our yoga  instructor- Elmer Padilla would later become a close friend of mine. In  2006 I was able to convince him to actively teach free yoga lessons to  some prisoners who are languishing in a minimum-security compound at the  Muntinlupa Penitentiary. We would later teach free yoga lessons to  former street-children and child-beggars who are being rehabilitated by  non-government organizations. In 2007 we called our group as “Yoga For  Humanity”. We’re not a formal organization, but we’re doing humanitarian  work while teaching free yoga lessons to prisoners and former  child-beggars and street-children. Our group also donates foods, school  supplies, medicines, first-aid kits, clothes, books, and  vitamin-capsules to minimum-security prisoners at the Muntinlupa  Penitentiary and to the kids who were once street-children or  child-beggars.

    My fellow-volunteers  and I from ‘Yoga For Humanity’ usually organize former street-children  on a Saturday to play outdoor games like popular parlor games,  indigenous street games, and even ‘board games’. After teaching the kids  about yoga and how to play sports and outdoor games, my  fellow-volunteers and I would give out our donations like foods, books,  and clothes to such former street-children who are being  temporarily-sheltered in rehabilitation centers. I believe in karma. I’m  a Christian and I do believe that “if you plant good seeds, you will  surely harvest good fruits.”

    We want  to see a much better world to live in because we all want to live long  lifetimes and want to see all humans living in harmony, understanding  and peace with one another. We humans want to live in harmony with  nature, the universe and God. We are all children of God! We all deserve  salvation. We should not fight over religion because all of us have the  right to worship God in accordance with our own respective convictions  and faith.

    When we see oppression, we  should stand up and help the oppressed. When we see injustice, we  should struggle to give justice to those who have become victims of  injustice. When we see cruelty, we should stand up for mercy and  kindness. When we see violence, we should stand up for peace, harmony  and understanding. Jesus stood up to help the poor and the oppressed  when he was on Earth. Jesus defended the outcasts of the society from  being discriminated upon. When we see unjust things, we should have the  courage to stand up for righteousness and make this world a much better  place to live in. We are all children of God and we all deserve personal  salvation and blessings.

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