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