Last Updated: Friday - 09/24/2010
Week of March 27, 2006
Passion and purpose lift the Church up, says musician
By RAMON GONZALEZ
"Affirmation is everything; in affirmation there is invitation."
- Jesse Manibusan
The 47-year-old singer, guitarist and storyteller from Texas made the comments at a workshop called Fire & Smoke: How to Ignite or to Extinguish the Faith. About 50 people, some of them youth ministers, attended the March 18 workshop at the Shaw Conference Centre. The workshop was part of the Catholic Education Conference.
The hefty bleached blond musician wore high-top sneakers, shorts and a yellow T-shirt emblazoned with a happy face. He stood out in the crowd. But his appearance was part of his message: no matter how different you seem to be, God believes in you and loves you.
Passion is what nurtures the faith, he said. "Passion, purpose, that's what lifts the Church up. That's what gives life, what renews and resurrects."
Passion is to be alive, is to be truthful. "Peter, the first disciple, had passion," Manibusan noted. "Clearly when Jesus calls them, Peter immediately says, 'Yes, let's go. We are going fishing with Jesus.' And his life changes dramatically. His faith is lifted up. Everything is enriched in his life. Jesus is saying, 'Be passionate, come, follow me.'
"Do you think it is easy for those guys? Jesus is not inviting them to a workshop experience. There is risk involved. When Jesus says, 'Come, follow me' he is saying, 'Come, live a life of purpose, come and really see God's presence in the world; come and see and explore God's purpose for your life in the world.'"
Manibusan urged his audience to affirm and acknowledge others like Jesus did. "He was different than other rabbis: He stopped, he acknowledged and he listened." Jesus even acknowledged the blind beggar, a person everyone else ignored. "Affirm folks," he urged. "Affirmation is everything; in affirmation there is invitation."
During the workshop Manibusan played the guitar, told jokes and stories and made the audience sing songs of praise and worship. He said every endeavour in faith makes Christ present, including singing. "Singing is a good way to ignite the faith because to sing is to disarm, to make vulnerable."
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