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Sound the Bamboo
[CCA Hymnal]



Asian Contributions to Overcoming Violence

In observance of the Decade to Overcome Violence (DOV) Focus on Asia, the CCA program areas have integrated the concern to overcome violence in its various activities. As CCA DOV coordinator and as staff for theological concerns, I recently participated in some of these activities.

On August 13-14, I led four sessions on Contextual and Feminist Theologizing and facilitated a Bible study with feminist hermeneutics at the Asia Ecumenical Academy organized by Cora Tabing-Reyes of CCA-Ecumenical Formation, Gender Justice and Youth Empowerment in Chiang Mai, Thailand. Focusing on the theme, "Ecumenical Formation towards Building Communities of Peace for All", AEA ran for three weeks (August 8-27).

The sessions that led to a workshop on using an Asian feminist framework for doing feminist theology, were situated in the context of the glaring lack of peace in many Asian communities because of the highly patriarchal cultures and hierarchical structures that marginalize and oppress Asian women and girl children. Therefore, an Asian contextual feminist theologizing framework was offered as a tool to critique and transform the divisions brought about by sexism, racism, classism, casteism - which result in unequal relationships that contribute to the lack of peace in our region.

Using the Asian framework of feminist theologizing, participants worked in small groups to analyze some issues of oppression experienced by Asian and Pacific women and to come up with strategies to transform them. Issues identified included sexual harrassment and rape; trafficking of women; feminization of poverty;sexual abuse and incest.

On August 15-20, I joined the interfaith conference organized by Tony Waworuntu of CCA-Justice, International Affairs, and Development and Service (CCA-JID) in Cipayung, Indonesia. The theme was, "The Role of Religion to Overcome Violence without Violence."

Many of the participants were part of a panel of speakers on various topics. During small group discussions, they shared stories of their experiences of violent conflicts, often orchestrated by forces other than religious, that have torn their once harmonious communities. They also shared stories and experiences of their struggle to build peace again through their own interfaith initiatives.

I was part of the panel that tackled the issue of interfaith dialogue and cooperation as an urgent necessity of the times. Dialogue however should be seen, not as an "ambulance" when violent conflict erupts but as a way of life - where there is mutual trust, respect, and solidarity.

posted by hope on Saturday, August 27, 2005  

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