Be Proud

I have not checked Facebook yet but I am sure there are a lot of reactions to the Worship Service lesson this weekend. If you completely fell asleep and missed the entire thing, it is about one thing: BE PROUD TO BE AN IGLESIA NI CRISTO.

There’s not much to say about it really. There is one term for it… HUMBLEBRAG. What is that?

“An ostensibly modest or self-deprecating statement whose actual purpose is to draw attention to something of which one is proud.” from OxfordDictionaries.com

In simpler terms, it is a subtle way of bragging indirectly. Example: “I hate driving my Ferrari, the cops always follow me!” (Yes, we get it, you drive a Ferrari and we don’t). OR, Gosh, I’m so jetlagged! I had to travel with the entourage to Europe again” (Yes, we know, you’re a jet setter)

Got it? Ok, well, pretty much that was the lesson today. It started out talking about how hard it was for the Church in the beginning – during the time of Brother Felix Manalo when brethren were persecuted and ostracised. But now, (Thanks be to God) we are hugely successful! So be proud! Examples of success? Behold – –

We are in 130 countries; thousands now studying to be in the Ministry; we have the Philippine Arena, which just happens to be the largest indoor arena/ stage theater AND, we have all these politicians greeting us, such as…

(Barack Obama, Queen Elizabeth II, Former Governor of Alaska Sarah Palin (seriously?), Governor Chris Christie of New Jersey(really?? Proud?!?) and a host of Japanese politicos that the Minister struggled to read.. Something like… Ichiro Suzuki, Ken Watanabe, Pikachu, Emperor Hirohito and the list went on! I am sure the entire congregation had no idea what the Minister was talking about. (Funny, how EVM’s actions were mentioned but not the previous Administration)

Bottom line of the lesson is, we are supposed to be PROUD of all these accomplishments. The Minister even read some verses to “PROVE” that God and Christ wants us to be proud. I don’t know if I fell asleep, but I did not hear the word “Proud” in any of those verses. Am I wrong? He read Matthew, he read Isaiah, he read 1 Peter but I could not hear it.

And should we really be proud of the Arena? The Church owes millions of dollars in loans and we should be proud of that? Brethren are literally dragged into it just to attend an activity, because it is too far to walk and no public transportation directly goes there. Yeah, real proud of that.

Why don’t we follow the example of King David who did not care for all these “worldly matters”? He says this:

Lord, my heart is not proud, nor my eyes haughty;

Nor do I involve myself in great matters,

Or in things too difficult for me.

Surely I have calmed and quieted my soul;

Like a weaned child [resting] with his mother,

My soul is like a weaned child within me [composed and freed from discontent].

O Israel, hope in the Lord

From this time forth and forever.

Psalms131:1-3

And in the 130 countries we are in, how many of them are we legally registered and recognised? Can the Executive Minister visit the “hundreds of locales” in Saudi Arabia? Can he visit the underground locales we have in China?  Or why not visit the brethren who were recently affected by the hurricane in Haiti? Or Dominican Republic? We are there are we not? Or are we only “proud” of the glory zone? Japan? Hong Kong? New York? Oh yeah! Those, we are proud of, right?

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These superficial things do not make us proud. Who cares if we broke World Records? Who cares if a politician  greets us? Do you know how many politicians have greeted us over the years? They come and go. Should we be proud when we have such kinds of “success“? Here is what God answered to His ancient people:

“You say to yourself that you have defeated Edom, and now you are arrogant and proud. But stay at home! Why ask for trouble and cause your own downfall and that of Judah also?” 2 Chronicles 25:19

All those things read today? Humblebrag. It is not what we were taught. If we were able to help our fellow man, should we declare it to others? Should we be “proud” of that? Or do we just do it like true Christians? Shouldn’t we just act because it is the right thing to do and not have to announce it? These are not the things we should be proud of.

That is why God taught us: “Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud.” 1 Corinthians 13:4

If there is anything that we must take pride in, what is it that we are taught by God?

“But let him who speaks with pride speak about this, that he understands and knows Me, that I am the Lord who shows loving-kindness and does what is fair and right and good on earth. For I find joy in these things,” says the Lord.” Jeremiah 9:24

What makes us proud to be a member of the Church of Christ is knowing God’s kindness. When we can get through the hardship of life; when we can endure these unbearable trials because of God’s mercy. Isn’t this what God’s messengers have taught us in the past?

Are we proud that during this Executive Minister’s tenure he expelled his own mother and siblings?

Are we proud of how the brethren treated ka Erdy’s family with degradation and humiliation?

Are we proud that Brother Eraño Manalo’s home was demolished into tiny rubbles?

Are we proud of how the Church has bullied News media and reporters into silence?

Are we proud that so many Ministers, Head Deacons, officers and their families as well as regular brethren have been EXPELLED worldwide, during his time?

Are we really proud of all these secret business ventures?

And are we proud that the Church now has so much debts and loans?

If EVM is so proud, then why do we have to “MAKE EVM SMILE?”

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3 thoughts on “Be Proud

  1. While your article is quite interesting as usual, I find your word choice, humblebrag, to describe EVM’s latest campaign very tame and mild. I prefer AE’s “dynamic hypocisy” or better yet, “outrageous hypocrisy” to capture the righteous indignation that any “thinking” INC member felt upon hearing the lesson and EVM’s letter. (I said “thinking” because I noticed some brethren beaming with pride and even crying during the worship service prayer.) It was really an unbelievable and mind-boggling pronouncement especially when the officiating minister exhorted the brethren to place the “I am proud to be an INC member” banner in all their social media postings. While he was saying this, I was making a mental note of the photos that keep showing up underneath the banner: the express expulsions, the continued persecution of certain ministers and the 36TS residents, the Philippine Arena mega-loans, the lavish lifestyle of favored ministers, the destroyed properties where Ka Erdy stayed, the sold INC properties, the Aid-to-Humanity fund and dubious practices, the bickerings and division among the brethren, etc. No wonder Bro. William Smith, who usually writes with poise and elegant style, lost his cool and ended his latest article with an abbreviated curse! I cannot match his wit and temper flare-up; I can only contribute my own description picked up from the current US political landscape: “Trump Hypocrisy”!

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  2. I heard from a head deacon that some locales are even holding a 3month long devotional prayers for “I am proud to be INC.” Insane!!!

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  3. This “being proud” nonsense was being injected to minds of the mindless brethren (“minds of the mindless,” does it make sense anyway?) to sway their attention to the massive debts of the church.

    Some people on my FB account were even sharing a post stating that brethren should not share the post of Rappler regarding their expose about the billions of debts of the church, and instead to just be proud that they are members of the INC.

    Can’t handle the truth, can we? I’m sorry EVM and your mindless minions, some of us are not proud to be members of INC anymore because of you.

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