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The Church and the Merger Theory

Thursday, March 10, 2011

/ Published by VIRTHLI
~By Joyful Z Khawzawl

With the countdown for the celebration of the Gospel’s 100th anniversary set to start within a few months from now, there is an undeniable undercurrent of feelings and speculations among the masses about as to how far have we fared since ‘the enlightenment of Senvon’ by the Gospel. To have such inclination for, is but natural and could be done through analysis from various angles of the situation we are in at present with the past. Many things can be discuss about ranging from how poorly neglected Senvon still continues to be in to how has the religion fared us in terms of things seen and unseen. The forthcoming ‘Centenary’ is a cause for a big celebration and should be observed to the fullest. After all, to have sustained a beliefs for a 100 years that crash-landed into our territory is a matter to be proud of and no mean an achievement .More importantly, in contrast with the present, the fact that there were at that time, only a few takers (if not all of them) who accepted it more out of curiosity than by judgment is another thing that we should be happy with. The very act of them accepting a religion that was foreign in its entirety reflected their audacity and nature of as to how faithful and unrelenting they could be once they get to sink their teeth into something they perceived as right and true. For that we owed them a lot and it is appropriate that we honour and respect them and give them their due in the annals of the community.

In the pre- Christian era, we were worshippers of nature, pagans. Poor, ignorant and superstitious we had nothing and we were what the missionaries called the ‘lost-soul’. Therefore, if there was anything. . ……. Anything that saw us through those turbulent days, it is this religion that our forefathers have adopted and leaved as their legacy. Christianity in the beginning did great service to us in ways more than one. Our new found beliefs enlightened and spring boarded us into a whole new world wherein we realized there was more to life than hunting, humming and worshipping giant trees, rocks and evil spirits. From then on, there easy no looking back, we made rapid strides in improving our socio-economic conditions. We were proud then, and happy. The bounden duty of every Christian to propagate the Gospel forced the early believers to be educated lest they be of a lesser potent tool. That was the moment when the realization dawn on us about the true values of education. Consequently, for anyone who had a care for the church, the society and our identity as a disparate (not to mention of the hope for personal aggrandizement) even though narrowed conceived, education became an obsession. The efforts bore fruits. The primitive and ignorant socio-economic life begins to improve transmogrifying the society into something more humane and civilized. By then Christianity and education had come to be seen as a panacea for all the ills that afflicted the society. But just as when we thought we were secured and that God was smiling on us, things to get awry. The situation then was a case of a perfect storm that was gathering up ahead. Problems starts brewing up among people who sit at the top the likely effect of which didn’t bode very well for the fledgling church established at that time. Then suddenly, things took a sinister turn ,the church that was built and look after through decades of care and nourishment with blood and tears came tumbling down in a split seconds. From that moment, all hell broke loose and caution if people had any was thrown to the wind. An eye for an eye became the refrain – so much for our beloved religion! The trauma and the wounds, the anger and the hatred that the separation brings forth in its train took long time to heal. In fact embarrassing situations of such scale and intensity are hard to live down.

It is not my intention to pinpoint any particular group or individual for what has befallen the church. What has happened has happened. You and I do not have the capacity to change something that has passed its time but surely we do have the power to control what is yet to come, at least, in some sense. But if you insist on me answering as to whose group is to be blame for all the mess the church was made to go through. To merits six of one and half a dozen of the other. Agreed some leaders of either group acted, behaved and did things in a way that was self serving and against the interest of the church. But such differences or say dissensions should never have been allowed to fester in the first place. Even then, there was always room for maneuver to arrive at a solution to the problems in the interest of the church and the Gospel that had enlightened us. If militants and government and politicians, notorious for their unfaithfulness to a cause and who displayed different sets of morality in dealing with each other can come to terms with each other why not ‘them’ or for that matter ‘us’ who tends to adopt the holier-than –thou attitude towards them(pardon if I sound a bit too presumptuous)Having said that ,I’m reminded of the day ,about a year ago, when our respected Pastors were busy trying to reconcile the ‘two warring groups’ who had resorted to fratricidal killings recently before. The initiative per se was very good, laudable and timely. But a further reflection over it gave me mixed feelings. As much as we need and want reconciliation between these two sons of ours’ so do we and much more between the ‘former’ who mediated the truce. In fact, it was a nice plan. But what led them into thinking that they would pull off a solution when they themselves cannot come up with one when it comes to matters relating to the church and integration? It’s like a pot calling a kettle black! From this, one does need particular insights to know what kind of mentality and attitude our leaders exhibited when it comes to handling a sensitive situation. Views and opinions might differ, but why do we ever need to be separated in the way we are at present? One might argue that we were just not destined to be together and perhaps it’s God’s will that we should be like what we are, at present. Destiny..? God..?Interesting! Whoever said that destiny controls you? It is you who controls your destiny .Secondly; never in my life have I heard or read God’s teaching his beloved to stay away from each other. When Jesus himself teaches us to love our enemies…..and be together. Why cannot we who are not even enemies just flow together and be a force for Christ and His kingdom? For what I know and to put it simple, “The Great’ separation “was just a trivial case of a small problem mishandled due to the pompous and peremptory behavior of our leaders that snowballed into a full-blown conflicts of egos and self-centralism. To make matter worse, the common people joined in and began hurling invectives and abusive words against each other leaving us estranged than ever before.

One could appreciate the feelings of as to how hurt and painful it must have been for those at the receiving end of the reigning judgment, individually and collectively. But should that feelings prevents us from coming together – now or in the foreseeable future? Differences may exist but we all have the moral responsibility to have the church of for that matter the people united. The generation that witnessed the events will soon die out and not unnaturally the hunger for a merger will gather momentum. When that happened it will inevitably ruffle feathers of some die hard conservatives who would decried change to maintain status-quo; and that will be where the real pain lies in us. It will be a test as to whether or not we can talk them around to buying our belief. The Hmar Youth Conference that was organized in recent times was one big good initiative. Had it continued on, it would have been better. But to be objective, if at all there was any genuine concerns for the integration of the churches in that, it was secondary. Any efforts towards a merger will have to come from people to make it a success. For that to happen we need dedicated and liberal leaders with humility who can put the church and the community’s interest above all else. I for one do not see any efforts being made to integrate the different churches into a single monolithic church at the leadership level in the immediate future. But hopefully, a time will come when we will be forced to come to the negotiating table from pressures within and without. That moment will be the moment which ell shows as to how exactly are we better than our ‘older generation’ in negotiating a settlement. If we failed to reach one, it will mean repeating what our ‘older ‘generation’ just did many years ago. In other words, a situation where in ‘the flesh’ prevailed over’ the spirit’ in us, making us no better than them whatsoever. However, if ever we managed to pull off a solution it will vindicated our claims to being more mature and far sighted than them .And that will be the only case of endeavors in life where we will managed to beat them out in terms of sheer determination and perseverance’s.
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