Saturday, July 23, 2011

This is home: Pfutsero on 13th July, 2011

This is home
Now I'm finally
Where I belong
Where I belong
Yeah, this is home
I've been searching
For a place of my own
Now I've found it
Maybe this is home
Yeah, this is home.
        -Switchfoot
Front view of my house








Rear view









Kiwi fruits in the neighborhood
Our new church building on dedication day, 13th July 2011. Why I was home and all these pictures in this post

Natural green fence

Neighbors.. The kid I was holding in my facebook profile picture lives here

I googled to get the right spelling for this. But the pics in google image look different. I guess it is still Begonia

It wasn't me. The fine gravels keep our house compound clean. Even after heavy rain and these Tyre marks, there's not much mud

Not so far away from Pfutsero on the same day.. Paddy fields in my native village

More Begonias
And finally, our church bell

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Compassion above Justice?

In a closed facebook group, someone asked, 'Do you think Compassion is above Justice? Below is my response. It's a mixture of thoughts from friends, books and reflections.

Sometimes, I think we have to question the question and I have a problem with this question. Is it the case that we have to pitch ‘Compassion’ and ‘Justice’ one above the other or one against the other? The common understanding is that Compassion and Justice are antagonistic: Compassion is soft and tender while Justice is hard and harsh. I don’t think that is the case. I think Justice is such a sweet word which is full of love and compassion. It is the one who suffers injustice who is in need of compassion. The act of justice is here an act of compassion. What about punishment for the wrong doer when justice is done by punishing the wrong doer? Where do compassion and forgiveness come in here? If you forgive someone, you are condemning a wrong (this is not my idea, but theologian Miroslav Volf’s) because if there is no wrong, what is there to forgive? Forgiveness is not forgiveness if it is not realized that there is some wrong that needs to be forgiven. Therefore in the act of forgiveness, justice is done. Also in the act of repentance, someone doesn’t repent unless the person realizes that she/he has done something wrong. 

So, I believe Justice and Compassion are complimentary and both should go together. When we simply think of Justice as an act of retribution/punishment without compassion, or when we think of Compassion as not-retaliating/feeling-sympathy/feeling-sorry-for without justice, there will be no Shalom (the biblical peace). There may be instances such as an act of murder where justice has to be done by punishing the murderer according to the law of the land, so that other people are protected and also to deter such act from happening in the future, but even in this, we cannot say compassion is absent. Such acts of justice are also acts of compassion. In the God of the Bible, we find the perfect example where Compassion and Justice go hand in hand.

Friday, July 1, 2011

Churches of the ‘lesser humans’

Church in Myanmar
 A single US soldier’s life is more precious than the lives of a hundred Iraqi women and children. After all, the Americans are the good guys right? Like in the popular Hollywood movies, Osama was the villain who created trouble for a while but in the end; it was the good guys (USA) who won. Good guys always win.

God likes some people more than others. He blesses the good guys and blesses them even more while the poor people continue to be poor because of their sins. If you are not sailing smoothly, probably something’s wrong with you. Remember God loves smart guys.

Inside a church in Myanmar
A church in Myanmar
God also seems to be getting quite fussy regarding his dwelling place. He has become quite particular about how his house should be. His followers sensing the Boss’ increasing demands painstakingly undertake mega church building projects to appease him so as to maintain the perennial flow of his blessings. The followers know it’s a good bargain. Experiences of certain people show that God is a good investment partner. So, give God world class treatment; complete with AC halls, tiled floors and expensive stained glass windows, porches with fountains and evergreen plants, banquet halls and lounges with finest sofa sets, grand organ pianos and complete music sets which can be instantly rolled out on stage, lights to suit the mood of the pastor’s sermon and so on.

Fire is burned near pulpit to produce
light and warmth during evening service
Nagas are fast realizing the need to treat God well. After all, we have always been a people known to show good hospitality even to strangers. So, we see old church buildings going down and finer, fancier ones coming up everywhere. Certain Naga church buildings now run into crores of rupees. Truly those churches are blessed of God.

Just beyond our border, however, let’s see some poor chaps who still haven’t got it!!! These brothers of ours in Myanmar are still in need of God’s blessings

Pastor's seat
Another church in Myanmar
What if God were to come today and dwell in one of his dwelling places as in the Old Testament. Suppose God were not omnipresent (just for this exercise), which one would he choose to dwell: our mega church buildings or these Myanmar churches? If God is the one I described above (the God who loves good guys more), it’s not difficult to guess which church he’ll choose to stay. But if the God of the Bible were to come and the ‘God’ that I have been talking about all along is not God but is actually a ‘god’, the tables would be turned. Lo and behold, we might have been worshiping not the God of the Bible but a fertility god.

* All photos clicked by Tangit Longkumer