Vol. 56 No. 3 (2015): Silliman Journal
Welcome to Silliman Journal’s third issue for 2015. If you are searching for something new to debate about, you’ll find plenty in this issue. Our first paper is by Silliman University Divinity School Dean Lope Robin whose thesis is set in the context of numerous natural disasters taking place around the world in recent years—what he refers to as an “ecological crisis”—and the theology of creation espoused by the Protestant reformer John Calvin. Robin says that Calvin had a strong contention that God cares for all creatures, but that Calvin failed to emphasize human responsibility towards the world of nature in ensuring that creation will continue to serve its purpose as originally intended by God. Robin suggests for one, therefore, reclaiming and promoting subsistence agriculture. More revolutionary, however, he calls for doctrinal change, for a re-articulation of Calvin’s thought (finding it wanting) in order to produce a contemporary model of Reformed theology of creation that is relevant and responsive to the sad state of the natural world. Indeed, Robin adds, every generation of theologians must write their own theology for their own time and place. Lily F. Apura similarly writes about “A Heartbroken God”—towards a theology of calamity based on the flood story in the Old Testament book, Genesis. Lily’s own thesis is based on the Old Testament understanding that natural calamities are acts of God in judgment of a world that has turned against God, “transforming a corrupt world towards wholeness and wellbeing, “ although, Lily adds, “not without pain and grief on God’s part.” This argument is debate number two in this SJ issue. For our third article, and referring to Philippine revolution, Rowell Madula of De La Salle University-Manila, writes about “Gay Comrades” in efforts to historicize the Communist Party of the Philippines and its sexual struggle. In writing about the history of Philippine revolution as a history of contradictions, Rowell highlights the sexual struggle experienced by members of the Communist Party and how the Party responded and resolved this “contradiction”. This is debate number four. Fourth, the academicians Renato Maligaya, Ma. Luisa Mamaradlo and Feorillo Demeterio III, analyze writings of Filipinos to determine how Filipinos viewed Japan over a century ago. It is a timely discussion in the midst of Asianization and globalization and as we increasingly look to our neighbors in the Asia-Pacific region formalizing agreements and establishing vital links. Closer to home, Stella Britanico and colleagues describe the challenges in securing land tenure and property rights in Southern Philippines. The issue has to do with ownership and concerns migrant groups (who possess land titles) and indigenous peoples (who have a tax declaration). The authors acknowledge what they refer to as “contentious” issues in protected area management and suggest information campaigns, equitable benefit-sharing mechanisms, and collective action, among other initiatives. The sixth article is borne of classroom experience in literature instruction—a study that began with the simple question: “What do you look for in stories?” Alana Narciso indicated that students explicitly look for lessons in stories, suggesting that literature teachers should constantly provide opportunities for ethical engagement and confrontation. Our final full-length article is also one on literature, this time on the writings of Sillimanians. Realizing that Visayan literature is largely missing from the nation’s literary history, Ian Casocot began looking into the literary history of Silliman University (located in the Visayas, or Central Philippines), stating that it “established Dumaguete as an important place in the Filipino literary geography”. Ian argues that there indeed exists a “Sillimanian” tradition of writing. And this, to say the least, constitutes debate number seven. In an SJ issue in 2006, we began the tradition of a Readers Forum whereby a submission to SJ is sent out to others to critique and essay. In this particular issue, we have chosen the article by the Filipino psychologist Allan Bernardo entitled “Poverty, Privilege, and Prejudice: Social Psychological Dimensions of Socioeconomic Inequalities in the Philippines.” SJ associate editor Myla Patron introduces you to both the article and the essays. I acknowledge with gratitude both Allan and the readers of his paper for their thoughts and insights. In particular, the readers are philosophy professors Renante Pilapil (of Ateneo de Davao University) and Jeffry Ocay (of Silliman University), psychologists Gail Ilagan and Fr. Gab Gonzales of the Ateneo de Davao, and the theologian-philosopher Vic Aguilan of the Silliman University Divinity School.