Church folks in our Pacific readership might have heard of EI (associates of the late Jude Samson of Majuro might remember the Singapore International Training Institute, ITI ’71, he attended), or secular folks, of the ICA (Tony deBrum of climate change fame, the Kabuas, and members of MI Nijitela of the late ’70s knew them), which might also be known in Nauru, Fiji, the Samoas, Tonga, Kiribati, and Hawaii.
In Majuro, we had a Human Development Project (that Pastor Samson helped launch) and one of its public faces was TASC, Trans Atoll Service Corporation, its staff known as the “Blue Shirts” for wearing navy blue attires. I was a Pacific Blue Shirt in 1981-83 when I lived in Majuro and met Micronesian Seminar brain Fr. Francis X. Hazel, at the SJ residence in Pohnapei.
I am in the International Advisory Board of the Realistic Living Institute that normally meets in Bonham, Texas, though on a couple of occasions we met near Colorado Springs and another time in Houston. Most members graduated from a program of the Ecumenical Institute (EI), the Institute of Cultural Affairs (ICA), and/or the Order:Ecumenical (O:E). The RLI meets twice each year in a symposium of its members, and its formation is called the Christian Resurgence Circle (CRC).
Three paragraphs to get me started. I am going for the CRC.
I will start with the frivolous. That would be the Cannabis Resurgence Circle. There is enough debate going on to not bother saying too much on this one. Suffice to say that in 1989 when I first visited Saipan, plants by Lake Susupe belonged to this family and its use was widespread then, and more so now.
The Consciousness Resurgence Circle is nebulous, though touching on almost all traditions as the “self being aware of itself as a self watching itself be a self” has become a contemporary definition of being a spirit.
That brings me to the consciousness game I had with China Resurgence Circle tied to Zhongguoren Resurgence Circle, the C/ZRC in our title, when I taught almost 280 Chinese students per semester in Oral English. “We want them to talk, but what will they talk about,” one teacher asked. I responded, “Why not a subject they do not need to read about because they are already experts on it, themselves.”
I got everyone to introduce self. The method was on being aware of what was experienced with fives senses, describing them with words and numbers, then expressing what was felt in the midst of an experience, into how it developed that allowed exchange of wisdom and learning through cognitive and social relation functions, and finally, what the above required that needed to be done. A lifetime curriculum, I got some 280 brains to figure out how to talk about their awareness of themselves.
I transposed the word Zhongguoren in place of “Chinese” to be more accurate of the nationhood known elsewhere as China. The Chinese do not call their country “China” (Qin/Chin to Persians, Sina to Rome, and Chine to the French) but as Zhongguo, the middle realm. This is graphically depicted in the character for Zhong, a rectangle with a slash straight downward in the middle, used for “China.” My pedagogy is one on self-awareness, or the awareness of awareness, or the consciousness of consciousness, as the content of talking in English.
Now, to the RLI’s Christian Resurgence Circle that is ongoing but in baby-steps stage, that sees itself as a disciplined group of 3-12 persons meeting weekly as an intensely participatory nurture group, loyal to the history-changing and transformative event of dying to illusions and rising to authentic life—an event rehearsed in the story of Jesus-as-Messiah (Christos in Greek), transposing into contemporary wedgeblade sense of radical social responsibility, individually and corporately, for themselves on behalf of the welfare and well-being of Planet Earth, and the marginalized and destitute of the times.
Talk about a mouthful. The above is one sentence as a paragraph, easily a summary for a whole book of 20 chapters.
This will be my last year covenanted with the group since their task is rooted in the shadows of Christendom, and I intend to monk it in the Far East. Most of RLI now have grey temples and are living the sunset of their years. The metaphorical translation of Christian scriptures has been an integral part of the CRC experiment, a valid and delightful one, but the recovery of relevant Christian symbols, let alone the future of the next Christianity, do not stir my blood facing the requirements of 1.38 billion Zhongguoren. However, the question for me as a peripatetic pedagogue and a member of history’s Invisible College is: Where in the Zhongyang dispensation is there a “history-changing and transformative event of dying to illusions and rising to authentic life” story? Reality always answers that life-affirming question, and it is the basis to continue with more depth and intensity on the baby-steps already taken by C/ZRC.
Now, about the Commonwealth Resurgence Circle, an ongoing disciplined nurture and consciousness group of 3-13 folks laying their lives in the barbwires of Micronesian history to create the new…Never mind. Forget I asked.
Jaime Vergara previously taught at SVES in the CNMI. A peripatetic pedagogue, he last taught in China but makes Honolulu, Shenyang, and Saipan home. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.