I know I’ve written an open letter before and I have no idea if you even bothered to read it. These days anything that is considered a “negative remark” against you is simply discarded as someone who is “jealous” or “envious” of the Church or the Administration.
You would be surprised actually of how many people feel the way I do. I write this not to attack you or to rebel against you but to simply speak my mind and to speak on behalf of those who choose to remain silent for fear of reprisals.
It has been 10 years since your father passed away and you took over the leadership role. Ten years is a mighty long time. I was hoping by now you would be secure enough to feel that no one is trying to take your job away from you. In the last Video recorded worship service, you had your minions praying to God for you again so many times that they all forgot to pray to Jesus Christ. Yes, that’s right, NO ONE prayed to or praised the name of Jesus, as we were commanded to by God. It is really tiring that YOUR NAME has to be mentioned in all these prayers and lessons. IF YOU ARE REALLY THE APPOINTED ONE BY GOD, THEN HE SHOULD KNOW YOUR NAME RIGHT? The Ministers do not need to mention it in EVERY PRAYER – – “Our beloved Executive Minister….. (in case you don’t know his name, Lord, it is) Brother EDUARDO V. MANALO!” tears. tears
My point is that since you have been Administrator for 10 years perhaps you don’t have to try so hard to try and “PROVE” that God is “guiding” you. Stop trying to force every little event as some kind of success. For example, what was supposed to be a sacred event, the Holy Baptism – an occasion where a soul is cleansed of sins, forgiven of past trespasses and the person is inducted into the body of Christ – became a circus where you had non members going around COUNTING how many were dunked in the pool.
You had your little minions there with their big DSLR cameras pointing at the ones about to experience a once in a lifetime moment of their old sinful selves being buried in the water and to arise a new person cleared of guilt. Instead they are shared for media consumption. WHY? To PROVE that our ‘great leader’, on the very day of his 10th anniversary was able to ACCOMPLISH another “world record breaking” feat??
Who do you think were impressed by that? Maybe the farmers in Mindanao? The squatters in Tondo? What’s next to desecrate? World Record for Biggest Chalice in Holy Supper?
The last 10 years there have been all kinds of activities which, for some, may be considered “amazing” but the truth of the matter is, most of us really think that they are a bunch of gimmicks. I mean what’s the point of breaking the world record for largest picture mosaic Does it bring us closer to God? Does it make the non-members say, “oh, this must be the true Church because they just broke the record for the largest picture mosaic”? Those are what many people call G-I-M-M-I-C-K-S. You just made a sacred occasion into a sideshow! What is that Bible translation that you like to use? Oh that’s right, The Message:
“Keep vigilant watch over your heart; that’s where life starts. Don’t talk out of both sides of your mouth; avoid careless banter, white lies, and gossip. Keep your eyes straight ahead; ignore all sideshow distractions.” Proverbs 4:23
I watched the news the other day. It was about this Dallas Policewoman who shot this man in his own apartment. She was found guilty of murder. But what was amazing with this story, which captured my attention was even with the loss of a family member, the youngest brother of the victim spoke in court and FORGAVE the former police officer. He gave her a hug and it touched the hearts of so many people, including mine.
Then I wondered, why is it that you cannot forgive your own brother who did not kill anyone but simply refused to leave his own residence? Even if you say that he committed a crime, you cannot find it in your heart to forgive him? He’s still sitting in jail for years now without a trial. I won’t even mention your own elderly mother whom you expelled. It’s a shame we can’t see a sight like this:
Does it not say: “For if you forgive other people when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive others their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins.”
Putting on a show
We all understand that the Church should have a clean image. It is the bride of Christ that should be presented as a “chaste virgin”. But again, you cannot force that. You can’t force a good image or insist for people to like us. What am I talking about? 1. Don’t push the brethren to go on the Church’s Facebook account and press the “like” button so that if there are enough “likes” we would be trending. That is not really going to convince anyone to convert to the INC. And 2. Giving away loads of cash with IMMENSE CHECKS does not make anyone believe that we are “good” people. It only makes us look more desperate in trying to improve the Church’s image by putting on a show. You say it is NOT for show? Then why the LARGE SIZE? Is this the normal check we bring to the bank?
It only reminds people of winning a lottery or the Publisher’s Clearinghouse Sweepstakes. It is a S-H-O-W.
Hard to tell the difference isn’t it? What makes these pictures worse is that the cash you just threw at people were from people who are even poorer. They came from hard working church people who believe that their offerings would be used to build them a chapel, and instead it is used for blatant shows like these to merely improve our image. People earn a living and save every cent from their blood, sweat and tears; many sacrifice so much, even missing out on their meals, that they would have something to drop in the pouch, and then it is used for showy activities. You think that these people would even remember the church in 2 months? Do you remember that gross special event years ago in Times Square New York? How much was spent on that event? Millions on giveaways? How many joined the church? Many could not even remember, let alone pronounce the foundation. They said, Felix Manolo. Yes, I was there. Waste of the contributions of the poor brethren.
Is this what you want the Church to be? A group of people who likes to break records and do gaudy giveaways of giant checks for all to see? Is it how Brother Felix Manalo envisioned the Church? Throwing away cash at strangers so they can say we are not all thugs? Is this why you keep pushing for donations and super-duper special offering Sundays? You know what? I will just quote your favourite Bible translations again in Amos 5:21-24 Message
“I can’t stand your religious meetings. I’m fed up with your conferences and conventions. I want nothing to do with your religion projects, your pretentious slogans and goals. I’m sick of your fund-raising schemes, your public relations and image making. I’ve had all I can take of your noisy ego-music. When was the last time you sang to me? Do you know what I want? I want justice—oceans of it. I want fairness—rivers of it. That’s what I want. That’s all I want.
We know your Birthday is coming up. As I said at the start, I am not attacking you. I wish you the best. I wish that God really would bless you with wisdom. Then you can see what the brethren really are thinking; you would see what we truly need. We don’t need all kinds of gimmicks or schemes or special goals. We just want to serve God in purity and humility. We don’t need all kinds of flashy events to show you love us. All we want is for God to love us.
I truly wish you would see that. Your ministers will tell you what you want to hear. They don’t want to get in trouble or get you angry so they will keep their mouths shut and pretend everyone enjoys all these activities and are eager to attend these long Webex recordings. Keep it simple and humble brother Eduardo. Stop trying to flash “your badge”. We know you are the leader. You’ve got the job. No one is taking it. Now do it well and do it right. You are losing people. Brethren don’t want to speak up, but they are tired of the nonsense.
So as your birthday nears, Brother Eduardo, I pray to the Father, may He give you advisers who will tell you the truth. May they be honest enough to say the Church is hurting from all this giving and giving and giving. We have our limits. May God let you see what the Church truly needs. We need a leader who is not about himself, not about breaking records or being praised by others but one who is simple and humble and merely want to lead us in peaceful worship and humble service to God.
Life is hard enough as it is. Please don’t make it harder by adding additional burdens and call it our “sacrifice“. Every penny we put is a sacrifice – don’t allow your ministers to despise or disdain what we offer. Stop creating “mandatory” events then push officers to attend. Your father understood how everyday people lived. You now live in the castle in the sky and forgot how us mere mortals live. We are not lazy. We are not rebellious. We try to be religious. Every day we live in this world is already a challenge; every day is a sacrifice; every day is a battle for us to live good Christian lives. We do not need extra invented events to make us “active”.
Lastly, many still pray for your family. Not your queen sitting on the throne, but your real family; the mother who raised you and your siblings you grew up with. The Bible said “nothing is impossible with God”. So would you give up on them? I pray that they are all safe. I pray that they are healthy and most of all, I pray that you would resolve this because it would show to the church that you are indeed a leader who leads by example and can forgive just as God forgives us.