A Matter of Faith: A Presby Podcast

Episode 24: Olympic Gymnastics, Billionaires in Space & Leaders of Color

August 12, 2021 Simon Doong and Lee Catoe Season 1 Episode 24
A Matter of Faith: A Presby Podcast
Episode 24: Olympic Gymnastics, Billionaires in Space & Leaders of Color
Show Notes Transcript

Questions for the Week:

  • In the women's Olympics gymnastics competition, Simone Biles withdrew from the team competition after struggling on a vault. But the reason was not due to physical injury. Biles stated it was for her own mental health. You have talked about both sports and mental health before on the podcast. What do you think we, as people of faith, can learn from Simone Biles' example?
  • I don't know how to feel about Jeff Bezos' (the CEO of Amazon) trip to space in late July. On the one hand, it is kind of cool. On the other, there are better ways that the money used to pay for this short space trip could hve been spent. Thoughts?

Special Guest:
Bong Bringas, Commissioned Lay Pastor, San Marino Community Church

Guest Question:
I am a person of color and about to begin a leadership role in a majority white congregation. For other people who have been in this position, what has your experience been like as a person of color and a leader in a church that is majority white? Do you have any guidance for working in these contexts?

Resource Roundup:
Trigger: The Ripple Effect of Gun Violence

00:03 – Simon Doong

Hello, and welcome to a matter of faith a presby podcast, the podcast where we respond to your questions and comments on issues of faith, social justice, and church life. Don't be afraid to write in and ask your question. Because if it matters to you, it matters to us. And it just might be a matter of faith,


00:21 – Lee Catoe

whether it be faith in God, faith and others or faith in yourself. We are brought to you by the Presbyterian peacemaking program and unfound, the interactive journal on Christian social justice for the Presbyterian Church USA. I am your host, Lee Catoe.


00:39 – Simon Doong

And I'm your host Simon doon. Without further ado, let's dive into today's questions.


00:46 – Simon Doong

Well, hello, everyone and welcome to the podcast for this week. I hope everyone's having a cooler summer I know where I am. The heat knock on wood has finally diminished a little bit. It's a little bit cooler and a little bit nicer to be outside. How about you, Lee?


01:03 – Lee Catoe

Yeah, it's been really nice. Here. I am in DC and officially moved and everything is good on Pat. Things are on the walls. Yeah, DC is great. We are just getting used to the noise is very different from where we were before and kind of on the outskirts of Nashville. So yeah, it's great. We've we've met a lot of cool people. We've heard a lot of weird things already seen a lot of weird things. There's been a couple of Unfortunately, there's been like some shootings here, which has happened a lot in the city. So So yeah, that's that's disheartening, and in many ways and, and hoping we can see a difference in there when it comes to gun violence. But we are very excited about our our new adventure here in DC and what opportunities lie here for us. Yeah, maybe more opportunities for this podcast. Because you know, Simon and I are closer together now. Mike come up and visit. So. So yeah, we're excited about what you come look at Come on it.


02:1 – Simon Doong

Yeah. We're really excited about the, the opportunities for events and opportunities for for you moving forward, Lee and your new setup. So yeah, and prayers for a good transition. And as we're talking about opportunities and events, you know, there's been something going on the last couple of weeks. I don't know if you've noticed the Tokyo Olympics have been have been taking place. They are everywhere, everywhere. Yeah. And I've personally really enjoyed watching a variety of sports that I some of which I watch regularly, and some of which I only watched during the Olympics, one of which would definitely be women's gymnastics. That's not a sport I usually watch. And our question today is actually about recent events related to the women's gymnastics team. So the question reads, “In the women's Olympics gymnastics competition, Simone Biles withdrew from the team competition after struggling on the vault. But the reason was not due to physical injury. Biles stated that it was for her own mental and physical health. You have talked about both sports and mental health before on the podcast? What do you think we as people of faith can learn from Simone Biles example?”


03:40 – Lee Catoe

Yeah, so I've learned the technical name for what Simone is going through is called the twisties. And it's a common thing that happens in gymnastics and it's it is the relationship between mental and physical basically, you know, if you if you aren't in a good mental space, and when you're flipping through the air and all this kinds of stuff, it is basically where your your brain cannot kind of figure out where you are in the air a can get easily distracted. And so for one, it's to have someone like Simone, you know, being as famous and as prominent as she is in the sport and just globally in general. You know, to say, I am looking out for my own health, I am looking out for my own mental health and physical health because in all honesty, like if, if she were just to kind of do the norm that we have created in sports, it's like push through like, like you have to have endurance like you have to do this like you have to push through the past. If she would have done that, there was a good chance she could have like, hurt herself, almost to like permanency like, could have a huge chance of like paralysis a huge chance of head injuries or neck injuries. And, and so for her to do that, in that space for me is very empowering and, and kind of goes against everything that we learn when it comes to sports. And I really appreciate that when it does kind of connect to faith in many ways, because I do think and I do think sometimes in church and in faith, we have this narrative that this kind of suffering servant servant narrative, that, that people of faith have to bear their own, have to bear the cross and suffer for Christ, and be an example. And I think that's just very unhealthy. And in this instance, we're seeing a powerful black woman saying, I am not putting my body in danger, for your enjoyment, or for your entertainment, because you want to watch the Olympics, I am taking care of my body, I'm taking care of myself. And I think that's what God would want us to do is, is to have that kind of mentality that these are our bodies to take care of. And, and to go against this, like pretty odd dollar truss and sinful away of these athletes being put in front of people as entertainment, and just objects of our Yeah, our enjoyment. And so I think it was, I think it was great, that that that was what she did.


06:51 – Simon Doong

Yeah, I totally agree. I really applaud her for her courage. And I've seen, you know, you see things on the internet and people being like, Oh, yeah, she should have pushed through and she let the team down. But let's also be honest, she's doing something when she gets up there and does her routine, she's doing things that only she can do. And like you said, if she lands incorrectly, she could really hurt herself. And, and if you think about the team aspect as well, if she doesn't perform at her, you know, really, really well, she was very convinced that that would cost the team a medal. So she gracefully said, in the best interest for my own physical and mental health and for the team, I need to step back, and I'm going to trust my teammates to go out there and put the work in. And that's exactly what she did. And that's exactly what they did. They got a silver medal, and she cheered for them the entire time. And she believed in them. And I think that that, I think that that sets an example for how we should also think about doing work in the church. And especially when we think about, you know, we had a David Lamott on talking about hero versus movement narratives. And the fact of the matter is that in a true movement, it's not really about one person doing all the work. It's about all the people working together all the parts of the body. And when someone needs to take a step back, someone else steps up. And I think we need to have more of that trust within our churches and within our faith communities, that it's not just about us individually doing the work that we can take that break for ourselves. And we have people around us who will support us and can also step up and and do that task or fill that role. It doesn't always need to be us. So yeah, I think what she did was great for setting examples for both athletes and just for everyone else thinking about culture, the culture of pushing through. And and I really think that this was an important moment for Team USA Gymnastics team because, honestly, within the last five to 10 years, that culture of that team has changed a lot. And I've seen a lot of people commenting how, under different leadership and a different culture, the response to Simone Biles would have decision would have been no, you need to get out there and do your routine. And instead they listened to her. And they trusted her and they didn't force her to compete if she felt uncomfortable. So I think that that also hopefully speaks to movement in the in a positive direction. And I also just wanted to note that I was reading that as a time of record this podcast. Simone Biles did just win a bronze medal in the oh good grief in the balance beam. Yeah, that was it. Yeah, in the balance beam. And it was also reported that two days before she competed in the balance beam, her aunt passed away, just before she was supposed to compete. So prayers for Simone Simone and her family because that's another really hard thing to deal with under in addition to the intense pressures of competition.


09:56 – Lee Catoe

Yeah, and we've seen this like it's not just  Simone. We've seen this backlash of people and it's mainly white people that have and and it's mainly toward women of color like Naomi Osaka, when Serena Williams had to bow out of some tennis competitions. And when they all may also had to do the same there was there's always this pushback from from white people. And that's usually white man, as a white man myself, I have to call that out too, for, it's always. And this has a lot to do with the church and faith, too. It's like black women and women of color have really been the ones that have really pushed movements, and are they're doing the work. And I've always been there doing the work, and just just that relationship, and how black women in the church are treated, and kind of the same way as that, like, push through kind of mentality. And I think I think the church has a lot to learn from this conversation when it comes to just what happened in the Olympics. Like, I mean, a couple podcasts ago, we talked about Shikari and the running. And that's the same thing. It's it is something that we need to continue to call out that it's it's racist, and it is also in many ways as ablest and it's just not good for people's mental health, then I think sports needs to have a huge conversation. And the church needs to have a conversation about pushing our bodies to the absolute max, and pushing our mental health to the absolute max, just for something. Yeah, just for an institution that is going to constantly push you down regardless. And so yeah, we hope that during this podcast, like if anybody wants to talk about this, like write us in, do you want to come on the podcast to talk about this that is we are more than more than welcoming you to on here because it is it is thing that we need to keep talking about. And now like, In other news, do we all remember when Jeff Bezos went into space on that, that thing? He call it a rocket ship? Like? That is our next question that we are going to be talking about today. We're kind of in like the the newsie, like current events kind of day, which I'm kind of enjoying. So someone wrote in a question, “I don't know how I don't know how to feel about Jeff Bezos, the CEO of Amazon, I don't know how to feel about his trip to space in late July. On the one hand, it's kind of cool. On the other, there are better ways that the money used to pay for this sort of spaceship could have been spent. What are your thoughts?” So Simon, what are your thoughts on on old Jeff Bezos?


13:04 – Simon Doong

I'm kind of with this with the person that wrote in with this question. I mean, is it kind of cool that someone went to space? Yeah. But also, when you have that much money, and can do whatever you want with it, you choose to go to space, when there are so many issues here on earth that could be could be addressed with some of that money. And also, while there are various issues being raised about working conditions, and labor and wages for Amazon workers, I just don't think it's the best look, personally. And so that's I that's sort of my general thoughts on it, you know, it's easy to say, oh, if I had all that money, I would use it for good. And I would like to think that would be true, but it this is a part of the this is part of the system, you know, individual, individual property, individual, an individual's money and the individual ability to choose how to how to spend it. I do think it is interesting. And I'm not saying I'm not saying every person who makes a lot of money is like bad by any means. But if I think about other sort of well known wealthy individuals in the world, I don't see I don't believe and someone can correct me if I'm wrong. I don't think Bill Gates has gone to space yet. And and Bill Gates is also very well known for his, you know, sort of charity and philanthropy. So just an intro, just some interesting notes about the ways different folks choose to spend or use their fortunes. What do you think Lee? What do you think about Mr. Bezos going on a trip to space?


14:44 – Lee Catoe 

Yeah, Amazon is not. It's one of those things that like, it's so hard not to use sometimes, but I do. Yeah, I'm not the biggest fan of Jeff Bezos also we are not sponsored by Amazon nor are we sponsored by He kind of sports things we need to say that so but I, I am full agreement, I just think it is a waste of money. I post a question on Twitter the other day why billionaires are so interested in going to space. And I do think a lot of it has to do with power, it's that they can, and that they can just do it if they choose to. And during this time, you know, Jeff Bezos, after that all happened, thanked Amazon workers, and the people who buy from Amazon thanked them for a lot for for allowing him to do this and for giving him the resources to do this. So basically, you know, the fact that they don't pay their workers enough and all other kinds of things allowed him to do this. I do think it's interesting that on the the rocket ship was one of the women who was not allowed to go to the moon. I think that's interesting, and, and kind of cool that, that she got to experience that. But I yeah, I think it's one of those things that always centered around power. And the fact that they can go to space, because they have all these resources and all these, all this money, but but I also asked, it's like, okay, you want to go to space, which is a place that is has been touched by human humanity in a small fraction, fractional way, and you own a company that has kind of aided in the destruction of this earth. And so you want to go to space to also kind of leave humanity's mark, where it's not been a good experience. So that's really interesting to me, and as a person, if they thinking about how we're supposed to think about creation, and thinking about, you know, Dr. Simpsons, when we talked with him about like, wait, the earth does not need us, we need the earth. And thinking about like, yeah, the universe does not need a space does not need us. It's been here for millions of years. Yes, millions of years. And, you know, like that kind of question. It's like, Why do it just to do it? Like That was the whole purpose, he did it because he could. And sadly, it was a fraction of what he is worth. And so yeah, the money could be used in other ways. But the fact that that was that is a small fraction of what that man has financially is really sad. And as a person of faith, believing in the distribution of wealth equally, that the early church that is how they functioned, that there is a role for people who have financial wealth within the church and not demonizing those people whatsoever, because there are people in the Bible that did that, that that they played the part that funded a lot of ministries that provided space for people. And I think that's, I think that's great. But I also think that thinking deeper, like, you're gonna go to the endless ness of space. But yeah, but on this earth, like you've aided in the destruction, and how, like, what are you going to do here? I totally get that. But I think it is bigger, because I mean, that didn't cost him a lot and the comparison to what he has, yeah, so I just, I just wonder about all that. And we're talking to a very wealthy to not like, like stereotypically, and historically, there are many people in this nomination that have a lot of money. So I hope they hear this too. What what kind of questions that they're asking themselves?


18:47 – Simon Doong

Yeah, with great wealth comes great responsibility is maybe a good way to summarize that. And I think as we think about that responsibility, I followed up on my question about Bill Gates, and I found an interesting quote that I'd like to share with everyone. This is a an article talking about how Bill Gates has said that he's, he's not that keen on on buying a ticket to space. And this is what he says, I'm not going to pay a lot of money, presumably to go to space because my foundation can buy measles vaccines and save a life for $1,000 anything I do, I always think, okay, I could spend that $1,000 buying measles vaccines, which I think is a pretty that's a pretty holistic way to think about the way you spend money be like, if I spend it on this, it means I'm choosing not to help others, which is a, you know, granted he has a lot of money to be able to choose what to do with. But I do think that that's an interesting thought for us as you said Lee, a wealthy denomination historically Where wealth is also not always evenly distributed amongst all parts of the body? And so yeah, some things for people to think about, would you go to space? How would you spend that money? Let us know. 


20:14 – Lee Catoe

Yeah, I wouldn't go to space. 


20:18 – Simon Doong

I couldn't, I wouldn't be able to get over the rocket launch part. And so even though I love sci fi and the idea of space, I would never be able to actually do that.


20:29 – Lee Catoe

Yeah, I would rather watch it on TV and fantasize about it. And honestly, it's like, it's just a lot of emptiness. I feel like it would be fine for like, one minute, and then you're like, Okay, you know, like, I just feel like, I mean, yeah, I don't think I need to feel that some people say what, like, I've heard that there are some quotes. It's like, oh, when I go into space, I feel small. You know, like, I feel like, we're just a little drop and the universe, but I don't feel like that's how he thought about it. I think he felt like he's bigger than most things, and that he can do this himself. You know what I mean? Like, I felt like it was kind of the opposite. I feel like if I went, it would put things into perspective, like while and it's not just Earth y'all like, and that's another thing I want people to understand. Sometimes it's like, when we say universe, we just don't mean solar system. There are like, and we're talking about a galaxies, there are multiple galaxies in this, like the universe. So it's like there are multiple solar systems within galaxies. And so there are 1000s upon millions and millions and millions of planets and galaxies, and all these types of things. And so like we are, oh, and I'm a full believer that there are like other living things out there. Like there's probability wise, there's no way there's not like, there's no way there's not. And so that is also exciting when that also doesn't negate like, you know, our fate at all. Like, I think that if we only limit God's creativeness to this earth, that is limiting God, so we're probably going to get some pushback for that. But yes, Lee believes in other beings, and I do know,


22:22 – Simon Doong

And we should dig into that on another episode.


22:24 – Lee Catoe

Yeah, we're gonna have that on another episode someone right into question about that.


22:28 – Simon Doong

But yeah, everyone, think about what would you do with that money with that opportunity, and that responsibility? And let us know.


22:50 – Simon Doong

So joining us today, we have a very special guest. We have Bong Bringas, Commissioned Lay Pastor at San Marino Community Church. Bong, it's great to have you with us today on the podcast.


23:02 – Bong Bringas

Thanks for having me, Simon. 


23:06 – Lee Catoe

Yeah. Welcome. Welcome to the podcast. And so we have this question for you, Bong. But yeah, here we go. The question reads, “I am a person of color and about to begin a leadership role in a majority white congregation. For other people who have been in this position, what has your experience been like as a person of color, and a leader in a church that is majority white? Do you have any guidance for working in these contexts?”


23:32 – Bong Bringas

Yes, yes. And no. I mean, I, I do have some observations. I don't know. They're, they're going to be guidance. But well, thank you for that question. The first of all, I have a my in my position. I started as an intern not 12 years ago, as an intern from seminary to every 12 years ago. And I am coming from a small church in a town not too far from here, it's probably about five miles from here. It's a Filipino church because I'm Filipino. And I'm coming from there and going to seminary I was assigned to this particular church here in that small enclave here in the inside Pasadena called San Marino with a lot of curiosity in my backpack, and a lot of learning to to be done and to be expected to experience I came here. And, you know, I might say, I might have to say, not all of people of color, like me have the same experiences as I do. I have, I have yet to point a particular situation or a particular day, or a particular event in my 12 years here in San Marino being predominantly minority minority person in a predominantly white congregation, that I can say, Hmm, that didn't that didn't turn out. Well, because all I have experienced here so far have been a lot of love a lot of support a lot of encouragement towards my journey in ministry. So I am grateful for the people of San Marino. For for that one thing though, that that I feel there is some divergence in thought processes between me and the people in the congregation is that I am immigrant. I'm an immigrant. All right now I'm an immigrant and that it's that divergence. It's not about it's not about race, actually, it's about more about theology. I'm like I said, I'm an immigrant. And I'm, my band is Stuart's, when the, the immigration conversation happens every now and then they would expect that I would bend towards the people who are immigrating here in the United States, I am not advocating for open borders, I have yet to know and study that. But what I'm saying is that, as Christians, the Scripture is replete with a lot of examples of, of welcoming the stranger among us. And right now the stranger marks are the immigrants in our in our borders, who are, we're escaping a lot of oppression, a lot of violence, a lot of their fears at their homelands, and in coming to hopefully, the safety of the United States. But apparently, it's not that the contrary conversations not that easy. Another thing that I believe has worked for me here in San Marino is that before coming here to the states in 2001, I used to be a flight attendant in the Philippines, and I am liking the the whole ministry approach to don't want to be welcoming, and to be making sure everyone's comfortable, everyone's everyone's needs are met to ministry of the church as a as a person in leadership that came out pretty easy in the, in the transition process. For me, it's it's not you I was not I didn't see any difference. Although they of course, there's, there are differences. I mean, you don't really respond to everyone's needs, you can't do that i like i like in a enclosed 747 that's traveling from, from Manila to Los Angeles, where, you know, travel so people can easily you can easily find out where your needs are in the church. You can't, you can't really but I see VA my ability to respond and to be aware of their needs to even predict the needs of the people in the congregation, sometimes is pretty much I credit towards my being inflated flight attendant, my, my awareness for those for those kinds of needs for those kinds of concerns, are, you know, inculcated and easily, my radars are easily easily up in the, for those for those kinds of,


28:15 – Bong Bringas

in those kinds of situations for those kinds of concerns. So it also as an intern, and as a person of color here, I came with a lot of or with a lot of curiosity with a lot of learning to do. That's why I guess whatever, whatever job role, the head of staff would assign me to, I would gladly say yes, and study it. And then and then do it. And then as, as the years go by, I i've what happened was that I've gained the trust of, of a lot of people here and I moved up into the, the the now position as a commission, a pastor, I guess, one, one principle I have in life is that everyone in everything is my teacher. So in every situation and every person I meet in every context that I that I'm placed in, I'm there, to absorb, to learn to observe these things and to hopefully translate it in my own style of ministry. Those be there. Each and every one of us have different approaches. And by observing by listening by, by learning from a lot of people, a lot of situations, I was able to find my own approach find my own niche, so to speak, in in performing the role that I that I wake up for the reason why I wake up every single morning of every single day.


29:45 – Simon Doong

So if I'm if I'm hearing you correctly, Bong, it sounds like you were really blessed to have both a set of skills and abilities with in terms of your experience as a as a flight attendant, which helped translate To ministry, and then also you were able to gain trust from colleagues and from your congregation built up over a period of time. Is that is that would you say? That's correct?


30:12 – Bong Bringas

That's correct. That's correct. I'm grateful for that situation. I'm fortunate I came here with wells, I think I came here in my 40. So there's some maturity that I, I was bringing into the role of an intern and subsequently of ministry leader in this church. So people were able to pick that up in and say, Well, he's lived the life. I mean, he's lived here. He's lived some life. And he's, he's have had some credibility, so to speak. We Yeah, we can we can we can. We can converse. So


30:51 – Simon Doong

yeah. So it's not also like you were the recent seminary grad who was a young 20 something coming into a congregation, you came in a little excuse you said a little bit older, a little bit more experienced, which probably helped, helps you relate with the congregation that in the event that your colleagues that were there.


31:10 – Bong Bringas

Correct. I think it's a it helps, if ever, if ever, some guidance would be would be required, all for me is that it's important, whether you're, I think, anemia, and any other job that you're that you're coming into, whether you're an intern, or you're not, you know, a pastor or ministry leader, is that people would would, would need to feel your enthusiasm coming into the job. All right, to enthusiasm, and most importantly, is his enthusiasm for the job and enthusiasm and initiative, in terms of how your colleagues are, are are going to team up with you. I mean, they need to feel that initiative, right? I mean, they're they're there, there's a there's a thin line between between that in and you're coming in with, with, with people thinking, Okay, this guy could be good, this person could be in our team. And we could we could just show him the ropes, and he's going to be he or she's going to be okay. We can Yeah, we can easily he can easily adapt that to our team here. And I and I think I was fortunate to be able to have that attitude coming in here from one year, or for a couple of months to nine months to 12 years is what would say something about that experience.


32:33 – Lee Catoe

I also wonder so I'm talking a lot to some colleagues and people we know, and some like colleagues of color, and a lot of Simon as kind of mutual people we know, throughout the church, a lot of not a lot of them, but some of them have had kind of a hard time navigating the church in many ways because of the majority white congregations that they're going into. And, and it seems like you you've had a good experience in that. And I wonder, for those who, you know, haven't had such a good experience with with that, like, what would be some guidance in that area for them. Because I do know, of people where it hasn't been. And it's not because of like our there were interns are, but it was because they were pastors and these churches and the congregation wasn't ready for for them to be there to be in that church. And so yeah, I wonder if there if you had any guidance for them?


33:38 – Bong Bringas

I could try. Let me let me, let me talk about where Mike where I'm coming from, I'm coming from the Philippines, where English is a second language for for person, other person of color other other probably Asian person coming in, it might be a different situation, because of the language, the language barrier or the the language limitation. And also, you know, again, I was a flight attendant, different I mean, every single time I fly would be would be depending on the destination will be a different set of people different different culture, different set of a race. So I got to learn to deal with this with this with different kinds of people with diversity quite easily and to be able to adapt that knowledge adapt that skill that that gift into the ministry here. It was, was not was was that difficult. Alright, if I think if I was, I didn't have that experience of going into a to a congregation that is totally different from where I'm coming from. I would I would really study a lot. I mean, if I'm interning I would really ask a lot of questions regarding regarding that particular church. I would, you know, do some in ocular inspection. Do Some tour of it every now and then I mean, or in ask a lot of questions or people on the know people who are pointing you towards that direction or not pointing you just to be able to, for them to point you somewhere, they're pointing you there because they think that you can you can do wiggy, you can do something you can, your gifts are important for you to share, it would be important for you to share in this particular congregation. So trust that will save that as you trust that encouragement for people who are pointing you to this to the this direction, do your homework as well, you know, study, ask around meet people meet, meet the people, the leadership of the congregation, if if it's at all possible, and and at the end of the day, at the end of the other or that process. In the present day? Well, we're all presidential, I mean, you know, in the in the, in the at the end of the search process, it will be it will not be just the decision of the congregation. But also your decision, if we feel like it key, okay, at your gifts will be will be appreciated here in this congregation. If not, then you really just need to be honest, if you feel that way, if you feel the challenge. If you feel the love, initially, whoa, there you go. I mean, it's a, that's a, that's a big, that's a, that's a big plus for you to move forward in that in that particular process. So though those are, those are simple things, other people would probably have other things to say about it. But for me, I mean, a lot of homework to be done. I mean, a lot of trusting for the people who are journeying with you towards this direction, a lot of trusting for that, and also a lot of a lot of questioning and in looking for those particular answers for you to be able to see to, you know, to for you and the congregation to be able to make the right decisions for each other.


37:03 – Simon Doong

If you don't mind me asking one more follow up question, because I really appreciate what you've said about ideas for people to sort of think about when they're in the search process in their time of discernment considering you know, looking for a congregation to serve with, once someone is is in a congregation already. So I know you've said that you've had a really good, a good experience. But I'm assuming that also means that you went in the process of building trust. At some point there must be someone, either a colleague or someone in the congregation who you know, sort of maybe who has your back if there is a if there was an issue, whether it be a theological issue, an issue around race, or just you know, just you know, things come up in church. And so is there someone like that for you in the congregation? And how long? How long did it take to build that relationship? And how did you go about building it, if that makes sense?


37:56 – Bong Bringas

Again, again, I am one of the fortunate interns that ever lived, I believe. One thing, the head pastor, the senior pastor of this particular church was my liaison to presbytery my liaison, the CPC CPM liaison to presbytery Alright, number two, that's associate pastor, the associate pastor is one of the my first seminary professors in seminary. So, he was, he was it was just, he was just some sort of a reunion, so to speak. And he was he was he was easy to ask those questions of them, he was easy to, to bounce of ideas or Converse and discuss situations with him. He was he was, he was very easy for me. I mean, the, you know, the, I guess the, the, the safety net for me, it was built in, in my, you know, in my initial, in my initial coming in to this particular congregation, as an intern, it was it was, it was great. I mean, it was it was up to me to probably mess up with a cuss word while breaching or that the or, or really physically have a physical altercation with somebody But otherwise, otherwise, it was it was really it was really easy. It was really I felt really comfortable. It was a it was very conducive to learning a lot of the around the gifts or the skills in what it means to be in a in a predominantly white congregation in a big congregation even it's so unfortunate that way.


39:48 – Simon Doong

Well, I think that just goes to show the importance of connections that help build community and build that trust so that you're able to feel comfortable in the context. And that's what we really You know, that's what we hope our is going is happening more often throughout our congregations in the in the Presbyterian Church USA. And so Bong, we're really grateful to have you with us here. And we're grateful to connect with you. And we really appreciate you sharing about your experience and your story with us.


40:17 – Bong Bringas

Well, thanks for having me, Simon. Thanks. It's been nice to meet you, Lee.


40:21 – Lee Catoe

Yeah, I hope whoever's listening. Yeah, takes away trust building and asking the questions. That's always important doing the research and, and discerning the spirit and that love that comes with those called narratives. So thank you for that. And it's really good to meet you do. All right.


40:57 – Simon Doong

And now for our resource roundup segment, we'd like to tell everyone about a special documentary film that was made by some of our colleagues in Presbyterian disaster assistance. And this documentary is called trigger the ripple effect of gun violence, which was created, produced and directed by David Barnhart, who is a filmmaker and the associate for story ministry for Presbyterian disaster assistance. And this film was completed in 2017. And it's a documentary that frames gun violence as a both a disaster and a public health issue. It examines how one shooting impacts families, communities, and individuals, and gives voice to the questions and the insights that arise. The film draws on conversations with lawmakers, emergency room chaplains and surgeons, survivors and victims families, former ATF officials, police officers, community leaders, and others. And in this documentary, everyone who is scarred by gun violence arrives at the question, why did this happen to us? After looking at these in depth, experiences of gun violence? The film turns his attention to the bigger question, what can we do to prevent gun violence. And it seeks to move the conversation away from from the polarizing extremes that have long dominated the gun violence debate, and instead focusing on lifting up the voice and experiences of those who seek common ground and a new way forward trigger the ripple effect of gun violence is available for purchase on DVD through the pcusa store. It's also available to purchase or rent on amazon prime video. So we'll have the links to both of those options in the show notes. And we really encourage anyone who is who has been affected by gun violence who is passionate about gun violence prevention or just wondering about how to even address this really complex issue to take a look and watch trigger the ripple effects of gun violence.


43:25 – Simon Doong & Lee Catoe

This has been the matter of faith podcast brought to you by the Presbyterian peacemaking program and unbound. If you would like to submit a question for discussion you can do so at faith podcast at Pc usa.org. We look forward to hearing from you see you next time.


43:41 – Simon Doong & Lee Catoe

Thanks everyone. See you next time. Thanks everyone, for listening to Episode 24 of a matter of faith a presby podcast. Don't forget to subscribe on your preferred podcast platform. And don't forget to leave us a review. It really does help us bring more of this kind of content to you. So don't forget to leave us a review.  And if you have a question, feel free to write in at faith [email protected] We look forward to hearing from you soon.