Learning from Jesus of Nazareth's Vision/Mission


  • Ferdinand Dagmang De La Salle University and Ateneo de Manila University


Sustainable Development Goals, Prosperity, Kingdom of God, Basic Ecclesial Communities, Hegemony, Shalom, Solidarity


The UN document, Transforming Our World, affirms the enabling role of culture in its goal of transforming the world. While the UN assumes the necessity to interface with traditions, it does not take the time to articulate culture's ambivalence. This article insists that proponents of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) should be mindful of culture's enabling and disabling tendencies. It thus maintains that every action plan for the SDG will profit from the tradition-transforming ways of Jesus of Nazareth i) who challenged many religio-cultural traditions of his time; ii) who espoused a ministry of empowerment of the poor; iii) who was portrayed by the evangelists as the real bringer of Good News and shalom against the claim of the global powers. This paper further discusses Jesus' vision of the Kingdom of God as the guide of today's Basic Ecclesial Communities (BEC), the spearhead of a religious culture that enables the poor in their pursuit of prosperity and fulfilment. The discussion on the BEC serves to focus on the implications of Jesus' vision/ mission for sustainable prosperity and fulfilment of peoples as targets of the SDGs. Thus, this article may also be considered to articulate the need for another SDG target: the transformation of cultures.


Acts and Decrees of the Second Plenary Council of the Philippines. Pasay City: St. Paul Publications, 1992.

Best, Shaun. A Beginners Guide to Social Theory. London: SAGE Publications, 2003.

Brent, Allen. The Imperial Cult and the Development of Church Order: Concepts and Images of Authority in Paganism and Early Christianity Before the Age of Cyprian. Leiden: Brill, 1999.

Brueggemann, Walter. The Prophetic Imagination. 40th Anniversary Edition. Philadelphia: Fortress Press, 2018.

Dagmang, Ferdinand D. Predicaments of Intimacy and Solidarity: Capitalism and Impingements. Quezon City: Central Book Supply, 2010.

Gutiérrez, Lorraine M. "Working with Women of Color: An Empowerment Perspective." Social Work 35/2 (1990): 149-53.

Habermas, Jürgen. The Theory of Communicative Action, vol. 2, Lifeworld and System: A Critique of Functionalist Reason. Translated by Thomas McCarthy. Boston: Beacon Press, 1985.

Holden, William. "Post Modern Public Administration in the Land of Promise: The Basic Ecclesial Community Movement of Mindanao." Worldviews 13, no. 2 (2009): 180–218.

Horsley, Richard A. Jesus and Empire: The Kingdom of God and the New World Disorder. Minneapolis: Fortress Press, 2003.

Koch, Bradley A. "Who Are the Prosperity Gospel Adherents?" Journal of Ideology 36 (2014): 1-46.

Medina, Erron and Cornelio, Jayeel. "The Prosperity Ethic: Neoliberal Christianity and the Rise of the New Prosperity Gospel in the Philippines." Pneuma 43 (2021): 72–93.

Nolan, Albert. Jesus Before Christianity. Maryknoll, New York: Orbis Books, 2001.

Norwood Evans, Estella. "Liberation Theology, Empowerment Theory and Social Work Practice with the Oppressed." International Social Work 35/2 (1992): 135-147.

Paul VI, Populorum Progressio: Encyclical on the Development of Peoples. Vatican: Libreria Editrice Vaticana, 1967.

Pertiné, Iván. The Good Sense of Jesus: A Commentary on the Beatitudes. Charlotte, NC: TAN Books, 2018.

Pope Francis. Gaudete et Exsultate: Apostolic Exhortation on the Call to Holiness in Today's World. Vatican: Libreria Editrice Vaticana, 2018.

Pope Francis. Laudato Si’. Encyclical letter On Care for our Common Home. Vatican: Libreria Editrice Vaticana, 2015.

Revie, Linda L. The Niagara Companion: Explorers, Artists and Writers at the Falls, from Discovery through the Twentieth Century. Waterloo, Ontario: Wilfrid Laurier University Press, 2003.

Romero, Oscar. Voice of the Voiceless. trans. Michael J. Walsh. Maryknoll, New York: Orbis, 1985.

Sparks, T. Austin. Prophetic Ministry: A Classical Study on the Nature of a Prophet, USA: Mercy Place, 2000.

Stanton, Graham N. Jesus and Gospel. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2004.

Sullivan, Francis. The Church we Believe In: One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic. New York: Paulist Press, 1988.

United Nations. "Transforming Our World: the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development." <> (6 July 2021).

Wolterstorff, Nicholas. Hearing the Call: Liturgy, Justice, Church, and World. Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 2011.




How to Cite

Dagmang, F. (2021). CULTURE AS ENABLER FOR SDGs: Learning from Jesus of Nazareth’s Vision/Mission. Journal of Dharma, 46(3), 345–362. Retrieved from