Thursday, December 8, 2022

Celebrate and deliberate

As Nagaland Baptist Church Council (NBCC) celebrates 150 years Christianity in Nagaland at the two-day Sesquicentennial celebration, there is much to celebrate as well as deliberate on the journey during the one and half century. The two-day celebration is about the spiritual journey and the hurdles along the way. The list of what the church in Nagaland needs to do is endless and the efforts are nothing less herculean. After the advent of Christianity, the onslaught of western modernism has had a profound impact but Naga tribes have retained their respective raditional and cultural heritage. Exposure to western concepts about spirituality have also made Nagas help shape society and politics. Progress to modernity has not been long and the challenges of evolving further has found society wanting. Society ’s travails remain largely with the rapid rise in drug dependence, moral decadence, HIV/AIDS, corruption and criminalisation in society. Contemporary society is also challenged by many problems and issues and one among which is the loss of traditional values. This could be understood as – honesty, truthfulness, ethical living and respect for others which would have acted as the rudder of character in a contemporary world. The essence of traditional values can be understood and appreciated with modern intellect and ideas so that the synthesis can help serve as a guiding light for the present generation. Therefore, in the present age, propounding modern cultural renaissance should go hand in hand with modern spiritual renaissance. Living in a comfort zone has led to evolution of a religious culture. A religious culture does not change people inwards as much as the face mask does not change the body’s defences. If power and money can gain respect; makes immorality acceptable and enables laws to redefine crimes; then what is being followed is a Pharisaical religion. The charge sheet against the church is serious as those who want the church (perhaps pastors, reverends, women and youth leaders) to be proactive against corruption or evil, actually feel they have a divine right to tell the church what it ought to do. The church has become the soft target of those who feel that the Church must do more to expose corruption in society as much as Jesus Christ boldly exposed the moral hypocrisy and double standard of the religious leaders in His time. Of course, the very simple and honest question on whether those who point fingers at the church, are in any way, contributing towards betterment of society in any way? True, corruption in Nagaland has breached even the roof of monumental dimensions. True that people in the state have lost all moral responsibility in their insane quest for political power and get-rich-schemes that has made them worshippers of Baal. True also, that people in the state have become moral cowards when they are not willing to speak the truth because they fear the guns more than they fear God. Therefore, they speak accommodative and compromising words (a.k.a.lies) in order to escape the ire of evil. The church is not an authority, like the government or the village councils etc. Those who are raising Cain over the Church’s sins of omission and commission, are actually washing their hands off their individual responsibility. The responsibility of the church- the people or the body of believers in Christ- is one and the same. It is the same people-believers- who are in positions of society be it government, social or political.

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