Naga Christianity: Holy Mess vs Holy Mass

Naga Christianity
Naga Christianity is a kettle of fish. A turbulent voyage it is. Intellectualism stirs the calm sea of orthodoxy; as galaxies of secular worldviews storms and challenges the pure ethos of the Bible; as west wind of change of liberalism threatens to shipwreck biblical integrity that the church held with pride; as waves of atheistic free-thinking strikes and confronts the morality laid plain in the scriptures; as pirates of Satanism tries to invade the souls of the young; as the crews of denomination stayed occupied in their rivalry. The people who are passengers are now confused and challenged; some shouts in hoot and holler others chant their last prayers. What has become of us? Are we doomed?

This read aspires to consider the different voices that were raised concerning the church. Today, with online advances, one can half doze in the room and raise their voice high and loud virtually through a phone, tablet or computer against the church or government or anybody. Of late, my eyes and mind were kept equally busy with the different write ups, blogs, and comments of juvenile concerning the church. Personally, I take them serious because micro-blogging is shaping the opinions of people especially the young minds. Doing the math, I need to loosen my rib to breath. Thank God. I have one missing.

These young souls (not all) hate the church. They don’t want to do anything with NBCC or NCRC and the likes. They deemed the church and the councils as totally corrupted like the political parties. The clergy are stereotyped to be immoral. Pastors are considered comfort loving, living luxuriously. Prayer warriors are ridiculed. Prayer Centres are viewed as business maneuver. Theological students are demeaned lazy trying the easy way out of life. Best mentioned, “Nagaland for Christ” is a good joke.

Holy Mess
My universe won’t shake an inch on reading the FrontPage of the dailies, “SCAM SCAM! Pastor breached and embezzled Church funds.” My heart will not skip half its beat when my ears are phoned with news that that clergy is in an illicit relation with that girl in that ministry. They aborted the child. At best, I will shrug my shoulders in neglect. We won’t need Sherlock Holmes to find the religious frauds in our churches. The CID team in that Sony TV show will do. I guess, duh.

Hypocrisy among clergy is as plain as the nose on the face. Need I mention them?I heard of power play in the church and council. If your nose can smell, that stinks. I hate that ingratiating smile on the Pastor’s face at the entrance when the Director of that department entered. “Pastor, you can kiss his hand too.” The deacons will follow suit. And what is that contractor/officer doing in the church committee meeting. Hello Pastor and deacons (of course, who else, retired officer), why the scorn in the smile. Honest to goodness. That guy is not your enemy. Just from another denomination.

Did you say the Prayer Warriors? I am little under the weather to say anything about them. You know, I don’t want to go 40 days fasting confessing my sins just because I pointed their errors. Some questions will do. Why are all the officers’ lives short when you pray? Now they have to give you money and sent you somewhere far for missions so that their life will be prolonged. Why is it often the will of the Holy Spirit to go and pray for that minister? Why not the family next door? Yes, that poor alcoholic family. Why everybody you prayed for have to fast 21 or 30 or 40 or even 90 days to get rid of problems? There are things called as work and education. We need them. Last one, why that guy had to do that good thing or else that destruction will come to him. Oh crap, let me say it. I will confess my sins later. Why he has to give you 10000 rupees or else he will meet an accident?

You know what you will be best called, “Holy Extortionist.” I sympathized with our CM Rio. Every month in budgeting (if he does) he has to set money for the four five six Nagaland for Christ factions.  He also has to reserve some for the holy extortionist or else very soon there will be a divine revelation. “Thou wilt not stand the next election”. “Somebody will attack you on the way.”Talking of prayer centres. Let them mushroom. Everybody start one. Beg around for buildings to come up in the Centre. Start a shop. Call it “Fortune telling.” That way it will be a fair business. What can I say; business these days is tough and competitive especially in Dimapur.

Wannabe theologians, how cute are you. Remember you were drop out in matriculation. Your parents send you off for good to the seminary. You were such a menace in the family. Nuisance best defined you then. Look at you now; you have the cup, holier-than-thou. You know it all. You are good at all. You took some acting class in the seminary? I bet your professors were good. You might have come across this word ‘woe’. Yap, just to say, ‘Woe is you.’

Holy Mass
Is that all we’ve got? Are the church and clergy that corrupted? All I hear and read in internet blogs and pages will faintly say. Yes, that’s it, we guess. I wrote what some of you want to read. Allow me to write some more. Remember the high school cliché, “half knowledge is dangerous.” It applies today too.

Rest assured. Our churches are not all that corrupted. God is faithful. There is always a remnant. In our case, majority are remnants. We have more good churches and clergies than the bad ones. Comparing to places around us. Nagaland is paradise for Christians. I have friends who can get killed in their own home, when they say. They believe in Jesus.

There was this church with 20 people working. This theologian, a clergy at the church could not control his lust. He went and impregnated another clergy’s daughter. The news wild fired. Nagas, the best we do, stereotyped the whole church. Youths stopped coming to that church. Other churches and people spread rags of rumors around. But hold on, do the math. Out of 20 one was lustful, the other 19 were not. What about the other 19, who are still faithful? Judas, for one, out of the 12 disciples betrayed Jesus. But that doesn’t qualify the other disciples were betrayers. All to say, mind out your mind. Be aware. Be careful, very careful and don’t drag in the whole NBCC/NCRC and the likes when a pastor wronged. The best lies are from the truth. Don’t be a part of a half-baked truth which eventually becomes a lie.

I am thrilled to bliss to see the faithful men and women of God in our land. My heart reaches my throat in excitement to see churches all geared up for revival. Look at our leaders who intercedes day in day out, crying to the Man upstairs for change in our land. They implore the Heavens for souls not to be damned. Fingers crossed, they relentlessly chant for healing in our land. I have seen tons of mothers moan and groan with ceaseless tears on their untiring knees for transformation in their family and church. This will not go unheard.

We have pastors who live in rake and scratch, yet untiringly laboring for the church. They have the same smile for Mr. Rio and the farmer in the village. Hypocrisy is an asset they don’t want to own. I have seen Prayer Groups and Warriors waged in hunger and thirst behind locked doors crying for the transgressions and iniquities of our land. They wrestle for days in fasting. I have friends who spend their entire time in Prayer Centres out of compassion. They pray for people who are in need. I saw the others pray for our land and churches every thr ee hours; others in chain of prayers for 24 hours. Have witness tons of people being born again, healed, changed, and transformed in Prayer Centres. God isn’t heedless after all.

Speaking of theologians, let’s shrink from the assumption that all theological students are college drop outs, unruly delinquents, jobless in gimmick…I know of many theologians who had equal and enough opportunity to be somebody in the secular world. Yet, they heed the call of God, sacrificed their ambitions to serve God. Not all theologians are judgmental nincompoops.

An Appeal
All that to say, be mindful when you judge the church and clergy. It is the house and the men of God. Admonish it in ways it needs to be but with proper knowledge. Do not post or blog on hearsay. Get your facts right. To my young readers, do not post against the church just because your father is a deacon and he stopped you from partying that night.

We are in confusing, testing, and difficult times. A turbulent voyage it is indeed. Yet I won’t sweat my pores nor sink my heart down my stomach. For I know who is on deck. He has the helm in control. Jesus is still the captain of the ship. We won’t sink.