A Rough Church

Over the last couple of days I have been thinking about what the church looks like right now. People are quite unsettled by the fact that they cannot gather together. For some, this situation is a direct threat to their freedoms. For others, it is a necessary health restriction. However, whether or not you believe it is important to gather in church buildings full of germs and aerosol virus droplets flying around is not the point. I believe that there is a bigger conversation that we need to engage and work on. 

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A Bored Church

I recently read a few books by Byung-Chul Han. I have to say that the experience was quite enriching. He describes our society in ways that make it simple to understand. Not that his ideas are simple, or that the topics that he deals with aren’t complex. However, his capacity to create seamless connections between different authors, ideas, and our reality is quite amazing. The one book that stood out to me is The Burnout Society.

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A Hell of Our Own Making Part 2

In my previous post, I explored a few ideas about the hell we make for ourselves as humans. This perspective may seem a bit pessimistic because it does not allow for a supernatural intervention of an all-powerful God that comes down and cleans the slate. It is in our hands as humans to change the current course of things. This degree of responsibility is of utmost importance since the possibility for change and transformation is in our hands. (If you have not read the previous post pleas hit the link and come back)

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A Hell of Our Own Making Part 1

At this point, we all have been in different kinds of quarantine for at least three months. In Guatemala we are on our 97th day of quarantine. Many things are still uncertain. The one thing that I know for sure is that we, humanity, are facing very strange and challenging times. Some people have even said that we are facing the possibility of extinction and we are not even aware of it.

However, I believe we are also living in beautiful times. For the first time in many centuries, we have the possibility of reimagining ourselves as a species and turn things around.

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Resurrection and Pandemic

Today is Easter Monday. It is just one day after millions of Christians celebrated Easter around the world. It is a beautiful genuine celebration of belief, faith, and religious fervor. Easter is, perhaps, one of the most important hermeneutical lenses Christians have to understand and interpret reality. Here, I am not talking about the fabulous and almost unbelievable stories that have passed many generations of Christians. I am not talking about the idea of a zombie like Jesus who walked among his disciples. I am referring to a new way of believing that was introduced through Jesus‘s ministry.

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Apocalyptic Pandemic?

Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse, artwork by Peter von Cornelius, 1845.

When I was a little kid, growing up under the pews of the church, I remember hearing about the book of Revelations in the Bible. In Spanish it is called Apocalipsis which literally means, the apocalypse. Every time someone talked about it I had the chills. I felt as if the four riders and the dragon of seven heads were going to show up the next day and everything was going to be over. The one thing that got me over the fear of that was that I was taught that I was one of the chosen ones to not experience it.

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Reimagining Our Humanity in Times of Pandemic

I have not written a single post for the last three and a half years. The reason being that I was working on my PhD. So, now that I have taken the dissertation as far as I can for evaluation, I have a bit more time to write about different things.

First, let me tell you a little bit about what will come out in the dissertation. After thorough bibliographic and field research I am proposing a concept, term, set of practices, or beliefs if I may say so, called human catechism. The concept in and of itself is quite simple. It comprises two elements. Firstly, the human part, which is I would say kind of self explanatory. Secondly, catechism, which makes reference to a set of faith practices that are passed down from generation to generation. So, in simple words, human catechism is a set of faith practices that teach us how to reimagine our humanity amid present times. Human catechism responds to the question, how do we stay human and teach others to be human and humane amid our times?

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A Week After the Tragedy

Once I heard that Lament is the poetry of truth telling. Last week I posted something about the mudslide that took many lives in the garbage dump area, Zone 3, Guatemala City. As the week has gone by I took some time to think and reflect about what I wrote, and I have come to the conclusion that one of the ways of starting anew in the communities who suffered the loss of many people is to open a space for lament.

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A Community in Pain

Ataúdes zona 3

Coffins ready to be picked up by the families from the community

People say bad news travel fast. Some times they travel even faster. Yesterday afternoon I was in a meeting with my friends and colleagues Fito and Teddy. As we were exploring a couple ways of moving forward with a health prevention program in the garbage dump area in zone 3, Guatemala City, Fito received a phone call from his wife. Fito’s wife was asking him to call a good friend of Fito because she heard that something had happened inside the dump and that Fito’s friend was missing. Sadly, something did happen. A mud slide buried a lot of people alive. I say, a lot of people, because the truth of the matter is that we don’t know the exact number of people who died. Fito was finally able to communicate with his friend just to realize that Fito’s friend’s brother was the one who had died. Teddy and I sat in front of Fito, just listening to Fito’s conversation over the phone. We heard screaming coming from the other side of the phone call when Fito’s friend was crying and yelling unconsolably. “IT SWALLOWED HIM! THE DUMP SWALLOWED MY BROTHER!!” Continue reading

La Misión y Sus Frustraciones

Después de hacer el estudio comunitario del que hablé la semana pasada. No pude dejar de pensar en las frustraciones que muchos tenemos al trabajar en un ambiente plagado por el asistencialismo. En el caso de la zona 3 de la Ciudad de Guatemala se han contado hasta 30 diferentes organizaciones trabajando en el área del relleno sanitario. Interesantemente, no hay un cambio para bien o desarrollo comunitario aún cuando algunas han estado por más de 30 años en la localidad.

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