Dead gods and Shattered Temples: A Warning for Filipino (and other) Christian Immigrants

Sadiri Joy Tira
June 10 2024


The majority of Filipinos are Christians (around 84%) with the largest majority being Catholic (around 81%). Most “Pinoys” are Christians - not Hindus, Muslims or Buddhists. They are religious! However, they immigrated to Canada for economic reasons, and to live in “green pastures”. Filipinos are an economic diaspora here in Canada.

Not once, but several times, I was at the USA and Canadian Embassies in Manila. There I saw a long line of visa applicants to migrate, and in the front door of the Consulate, these Filipinos are applying for permanent resident visas; many are so-called “Born Again Christians.” I even heard some praying for God’s favour. Others ask their congregations to pray for their visas to be granted! They made promises to continue walking with Jesus and serve Him and support missions!

When these Filipinos arrive in Canada they work hard, some with double and triple jobs to earn more money. As a result, some are able to quickly purchase huge houses and luxury condos. Their multiple jobs help them pay their bills and carry huge mortgages for their houses. Some send money back home to help poor relatives. Some drive expensive cars, not one car but three cars. Amazingly, some have cottages by the lake, boats, and motorhomes. Others go for cruise holidays once a year to exotic resorts. Some buy expensive top-of-the-line appliances, and techno gears. Some Filipinas (ladies) use expensive handbags like Gucci and Louie Vuitton. Some have dozens of shoes like Imelda Marcos! Most Filipinos can’t afford all this in their homeland. For some, they consider these materials as measurements of social status symbols and material success.I am not judgemental. I think it is great and cool to have huge houses and drive big cars and wear expensive clothes, and expensive jewelry, and use expensive hand bags.

My question, to many of my friends, my countrymen and fellow Christians, the early sojourners and economic diaspora who were delivered from poverty and an underprivileged life in the Philippines is: “What happened to your promises and prayers?”

Before, and after, the Hebrews arrived in the “Promised Land” (a wealthy land, the abundant country of milk and honey), Moses instructed them to “Remember!”

“Be careful that you do not forget the LORD your God, failing to observe his commands, his laws and his decrees that I am giving you this day. Otherwise, when you eat and are satisfied (of Alberta steaks, lol!) when you build fine houses and settle down, and when your herds and flocks grow large and your silver and gold increase and all you have is multiplied, then your heart will become proud and you will forget the LORD your God, who brought you out of Egypt, out of the land of slavery.” (Deuteronomy 8:11-14, ESV, brackets mine)

Imagine if these economic migrants kept their promises?

Imagine their joy and their missions impact. Think about their Kingdom investments here in Canada, in their homeland and other countries. Imagine how many hungry children would be fed, how many orphans would be cared for and sheltered, and how many Kingdom workers would be supported. Imagine how many thousands of Bibles would be distributed. See and imagine how many churches would be planted. Remember Moses’ instructions given to Hebrew migrants!

A friend way, back during our university days in Manila, invited me: “Joy, I am now Filipino-Canadian: Come see my house, my cars, my motorboat, my motorhome, my watch collections, my wife’s Louis Vuitton and Gucci, our entertainment room. Oh, come for dinner as well!”

Look at the huge malls around us, these shattered temples. After the pandemic season, these places have become Temples of Commercialism, where multitudes of Filipinos and other Economic Diasporas (in Canada) spend hours on weekends. There, they sacrifice most of their earnings in these temples — their frequent place of gatherings, even on Christian sacred days and holidays.

The god of commercialism has a hand but doesn’t move, it has an ear but cannot listen, this god is dead! Beware of idols, which are described in Psalm 115: “Their idols are silver and gold, the work of human hands. They have mouths, but do not speak; eyes, but do not see. They have ears, but do not hear; noses, but do not smell. They have hands, but do not feel; feet, but do not walk; and they do not make a sound in their throat. Those who make them become like them; so do all who trust in them.” (Psalm 115:4-8, ESV)

Moses admonished us to stay away from them – these “commercial gods”. The shattered temples are useless!  

Jesus said to his (Filipino-Canadian, African, Latino diaspora and other) followers: “No one can serve two masters: Either you will hate the one and love the other, or you will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and money.” (Matthew 6:24, NIV) )

Furthermore, “Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moths and vermin destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moths and vermin do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in or steal.” (Matthew 6:19-21).

Sadiri Joy Tira, DMiss, DMin, more commonly known as Joy, is the Diaspora Missiology Specialist at the Jaffray Centre for Global Initiatives at Ambrose University in Calgary, Alberta.

View All Blogs

MORE Network
Simply Mobilizing Canada
Loving Muslims Together
Disciple Multiplication
Disapora Ministries
Canadian Projects
Global Ministries
Kairos Course
Outreach Research
Yummo Comes Home