Symphonic Instruments of Your Peace, Part II

Our team over here is called “Bukal Life Care.” We do pastoral care, train chaplains and ministers (particularly in pastoral care, but other topics as well), do missionary member care, crisis care, and some missional outreach. Our goal has always been to work together (as a group) and with others in a positive way. Our name seeks to emphasize that. Our name “Bukal” is both a Tagalog term and a Tagalog acronym.Bukal Logo Small New

Balikatan      Working should-to-shoulder

Ugnayan       Networking

Kaagapay     Coming alongside

At                    And

Lingap           (providing) Care

The term itself, “Bukal” means “spring” as in an outflowing of water from the ground. The idea is that of being a source of help to those who need it.

How do to we work together?

1.  We have organizational unity. Those who are part of our group work together as one organization.

2.  Spiritual unity. Our group is made of volunteers. We decide what to do democratically and voluntarily.

3.  Networking. We have not always been so good at this, but we are trying to do a better job communicating with other groups to know what they are doing, letting them know what we are doing, and finding ways to learn from each other.

4.  Partnership. We have formal partnerships with the College of Pastoral Supervision and Psychotherapy (CPSP) for our CPE program. We also have a formal partnership with Philippine Baptist Theological Seminary for areas of training and resource utilization. Less formally, we have agreements with local hospitals and jails for ministry work.

5.  Collaboration. During this latest disaster (Typhoon Yolanda) we have sought to come along side other groups with our own expertise to help them in their work, and allowing them to help us in the common goal. We have worked with PASAR foundation, Vis-Con, PNA, PGCA,, and more. The idea is to have the same ultimate goal and find ways to bring it all together, coordinating specialties for the common good.

An advantage in collaboration is that we don’t have to be experts in everything. Rather, we can find areas that we can bring our own specialties together.

Obviously, we want symphony in ministry not cacophony. It is worth not doing it all alone. Rather, we need to discover our commonality of goals as a minister of Christ. Then we need to find out how and in what ways we can come together to achieve that.

Three “Springs” of Missions

Cover of "The Mind of Christ"
Cover of The Mind of Christ

I don’t care for most devotional or Christian growth books. But I do really enjoy the book/study guide “The Mind of Christ” by T. W. Hunt and Claude V. King. Part of my appreciation of it is that it is structured analytically… and I enjoy the analytical. A very useful section (in my mind) is near the end where it has a chapter on Christlike virtues.

It explains these virtues through synonyms, antonyms (opposites), and perversions. In other words, it takes a virtue and explains it through other words that share commonality or similarity of meaning. The virtue  is also explained by its opposites. Then the virtue is explained by its perversion or behavior that may appear similar to the virtue, and yet is fake and sickly. The last one is the most important, because it is the most subtle, yet important, to distinguish from the real thing.

Take the example from “The Mind of Christ” for the Christlike virtue of “peace”

-Synonyms:  rest, quietness, tranquility, harmony, concord, repose, serenity

-Opposites:  war, rage, havoc, discord, conflict, strife, rivalry, clash, feud, brawl, fracas, hassle, melee, rift.

 -Perversions: neutrality, lukewarmness, indifference, detached, uncommitted, uninvolved.

The opposite of peace lacks its outward symptoms. The perversions of peace may have its outward symptoms, but lacks the appropriate motivation to be forms of peace. The core is sickly. Peace, the real thing, has the outward behavior driven by the true virtuous motive.

Consider three springs (of water). I am part of an organization named “Bukal Life Care & Counseling Center.” The word “bukal” is Tagalog for a spring of water. It was chosen to express the concept of giving life and refreshment. But there are more than one type of spring. Here are three springs:

          Good Spring: Gives good water

          Dry Spring:  Gives nothing

          Poisoned Spring:  Gives water but is undrinkable (even if it looks good)

The good spring is the virtue—good action and good motivation/purpose

The dry spring is the opposite—bad action (regardless of the motivation)

The poisoned spring is the perversion—good appearing action driven by bad motivation/purpose.

I believe there are three springs in Missions. There is the good, the dry, and the poisoned springs (or good missions, non-missions, and flawed/perverse missions).

Here is my suggestion on these three:

  1. The Good Spring of Missions.  “Living as God’s voice, hands, and feet outside of the church, motivated by love for God and for all in need.”
  2. The Dry Spring of Missions. “Rejecting the call to serve as God’s voice, hands, and feet outside of the church.”
  3. The Poisoned Spring of Missions. “Living as God’s voice, hands, and feet outside of the church, motivated by love of self, clique, or formula.”

Not surprisingly, it is easy to spot the dry spring of missions. Years ago, there was the Anti-missions movement, motivated by hyper (consistent) Calvinism often. In more recent years, Universalism, and Pluralism are more common motives. Some don’t act because they don’t care. They are easy to spot. But it is the poisoned spring that is harder to recognize. The perversion of missions may be successful, but is decayed at its core, because the focus is on the leader, the strategy, the method, the specific sect, and so forth… rather than on God and the needy.

To know Good Missions, we have to be able to recognize all three types.