The Weak Shame the Strong
CHRIST & NEIGHBOR
“The foolish things of the world has God chosen to put to shame the wise, and the weak things of the world has God chosen to put to shame the strong, and the base things of the world and the despised has God chosen, and the things that are not, to bring to naught the things that are; lest any flesh should pride itself before him.” — 1 Corinthians 1:27-28
A nun recently asked me to tell her sixth-grade class about the Philippines, where I served several years with the Peace Corps. I knew I could never hold the class’s attention without visual aids, so I began a desperate search. Finally, a Filipina friend who was active in the Aquino camp turned up an extraordinary book of pictures and eyewitness reports of the recent revolution. This saved the day.
I know I wrote an article about the revolution in these pages back in April, but this book is so extraordinary that I am compelled to return to the topic. After all, I did not answer the question with which I ended the article: “Was it Christian faith on the part of [Benigno] Aquino, the bishops, the Filipino people — that finally saved democracy in the Philippines?”
I was not sure enough of the answer to say, “Yes, it was Christian faith.” Now I am, after seeing the pictures in this book and reading the testimony of perhaps 100 witnesses and participants — from the most important, like Corazon Aquino, Cardinal Sin, Juan Enrile, and General Ramos, to the least important, like the nameless nuns, workers, housewives, and students who knelt praying in front of the Marcos tanks and stopped them cold, thereby becoming, in the final analysis, the most important actors in this incredible drama.
The book, People Power: An Eyewitness History of the Philippine Revolution of 1986, may well have written and photographed a new chapter in the history of religion in general and Christianity in particular, as well as of politics, democracy, revolution, and nonviolence as an effective instrument for radical social change. All that? Yes, all that.
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