Special Seminar by Dr. Jayeel Serrano Cornelio on March 10
2016/03/10 @ 2:00 PM - 4:00 PM
You are cordially invited a special seminar by Dr. Jayeel Serrano Cornelio. The details are as follows.
Date and Time: March 10th, 2016 14:00 – 16:00
Place: Tonan Tei on the second floor of Inamori Memorial Building,
CSEAS, Kyoto University
Speaker: Dr. Jayeel Serrano Cornelio, Director and Assistant Professor
of Development Studies Program, Ateneo de Manila University
Title: Civic Engagement and the Iglesia ni Cristo
Iglesia ni Cristo (INC, Church of Christ) is one of the fastest-growing indigenous Christian churches in the world today. They have an estimated membership of 2.25 million adherents based in more than 100
countries. To celebrate their 100th anniversary in 2014, INC inaugurated the biggest indoor stadium in the world, the Philippine Arena, which I have described elsewhere as a form of religious worlding.
In this paper, I will show that paralleling the global ambitions of INC as an evangelizing church are its civic engagements in the Philippines through medical missions, relief operations, and other forms of outreach activities dedicated to the poor. These activities are articulated as extensions of love, care, and mission.
It is true that from its origins, INC has been directly involved in various philanthropic work. But as I intend to demonstrate in this paper, much has changed in recent times. These changes demand close
sociological analysis especially in the light of the successes of INC as an indigenous religion that is now globally present. INC has long established itself as a key institution in the religious and political spheres in the Philippines. But in the 21st century, it wants to enter the civil sphere as a civil society organisation (CSO) that cares for the welfare of the public. I make the argument that this is how it is manifesting its new found power and influence. It is a demonstration of power that also mirrors its other innerworldly investments in the form of ambitious projects and global recognition.
Towards the end, I offer some critical reflections on what the future holds for INC given its strategy to enter the civil sphere. I will suggest that it is in a civil society conundrum. INC faces the conundrum that it must distinguish its role as a CSO from its institutional identity as “the one true church”. And so it is not comfortable with public scrutiny and accountability, attributes that matter to norms concerning the place of religion in a democratic society such as the Philippines. In recent months, issues have rendered this conundrum visible. In the end, inasmuch as it wishes to build peace with the community, it ends up engendering more suspicion from the greater public.
About the speaker:
Jayeel Serrano Cornelio is a sociologist of religion and the director of the Development Studies Program, Ateneo de Manila University. He was a postdoctoral research fellow at the Max Planck Institute for the Study of Religious and Ethnic Diversity in 2012-2014. In 2015, he edited (with Khun Eng Kuah-Pearce) a special issue of the Asian Journal of Social Science on religious philanthropy in Asia. His first monograph, Being Catholic in the Contemporary Philipines: Young People Reinterpreting Religion, will be published by Routledge in mid-2016.
Moderator: Julius Bautista (CSEAS)