At the moment India is a rocked by the news of the Chief minister of Tamil Nadu convicted under the Prevention of Corruption Act. The Special Court in Bangalore pronouncing AIADMK general secretary, Jayalalithaa, guilty in the disproportionate assets case discharged their responsibility. (If law were to go after the political leaders guilty of amassing disproportionate assets hardly a handful will be left in the field with clean hands.) But the party workers are not obviously happy at the fate of one in whom they had blindly laid their hopes on.
Tamilians by and large invest their loyalty blindly on anyone who shall pour honeyed words into their ears be it in alliterative prattle as M. Karunanidhi can or one who has the power at the moment. Karunanidhi who was once darling of the masses is a loser whose stars now seem to be on the rise. Come 2016 elections we shall know. If Jayalaithaa has lost power she shall know where her masses stand, soon enough.
But now it is another. Tamil Nadu reeled under violence as party faithful went on rampage as soon as verdict was announced. One AIDM party worker in Kancheevaram committed suicide while a young woman immolated herself unable to contain her grief. Was it because her trust in the incorruptibility of ‘Amma’ was shattered beyond repair? I do not know. I suppose over excitability is a key personality feature of otherwise simple tenor of Tamilians. Over large part of my adult life was spent among them and I have noted with amazement how this emotionalism overtakes them. When Chief Minister CN Annadurai of DMK party died in the late 60s I was a witness to their mindless acts of violence. It defies rhyme or reason. Even this day. The American doctors who were called then to treat a hopeless case must not have quite forgotten it either.
The day he died all the shutters were down while the mob went on abusing even the pedestrians for no reason. One was slapped for wearing flip-flop on that day of mourning and another who looked a North Indian and well-heeled was manhandled. These are hiccups issuing from some unexplained fault line of human psyche that would require Science to put the finger on. This trait also may partly explain the first suicide bomber was a Tamilian groomed by the defunct LTTE to promote its greater Eelam demand.
A Tamilian can only put up with so much stress be it individual or as a movement.
Every now and then I have read a housewife hanging herself from the ceiling fan over some trivial domestic quarrel. Is there a hidden death wish that an anthropologist can explain? It invariably needs a flashpoint as the death of a well loved father figure or conviction of Jayalalithaa would illustrate. There is a cult group that originated from Sri Lanka that insistson ‘divine healing.’ What it means is that those who are taken into ministry cannot take medicine. Instead rely on God to heal them. From the mortality rate one may imagine if it is God or some atavistic death wish taking over the ministers of the Pentecostal Mission.
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Reading a news item about Glenn Close and Rose McGowan who were reared in a cult group made me think of a cult group that I had known. In the US it goes under the name The New Testament Church and it had its beginning in Sri Lanka when it was called Ceylon. The group Ceylon Pentecostal Mission was a mongrel church alright. They drew from so many sources, Armstrongism, Church of Rome to name a few. They lived and preached two different things. They chose ministers from members who were to practice celibacy like the Catholic Church. They preached grace and yet made works as their cardinal virtue. They like pharisees made outward observance of prayers, fasts abstaining from alcohol, tobacco as proof of their holiness. They claimed they were totally separated from worldly affairs but always found members whose filthy lucre bankrolled their faith life. They insisted on their recruits full immersion baptism and speaking in tongues. The latter was the means to ensure their hook on the congregation. If anyone wanted to leave the two elders or pastors would buttonhole and ask him or her by wanting to leave they must have been speaking tongues ( not of Holy Spirit) but of devil.
They knew how to control minds of their congregation in spending hours in shrieking and blabbering. They made tattle-telling a virtue and made attempts at believers to ferret out how others lived at workplace or at home. They came between husbands and wives in telling ‘the weaker vessel’ what to watch out in the other. Sunday service for example the joy of Christian spirit was the ‘holier-than- thou’ Yahooism. Let me explain what it is. Gulliver speaks of Yahoos in his travels and these were brutish in body and mind. In these Pentecostal group there were believers who made a virtue of cheeseparing and leanness in their spirit as ticket to Zion! The Mission called special meetings whenever they could and these were mind numbing sessions as waiting for the Spirit. Innocuously enough they made him/her toe the line having got control over his/her emotional and mental reserves.
In order to be counted as part of the group how members lied through their teeth before taking communion!How they made some pillars of the community shiver in their pants! Those who drank(social drinking) skipped it and made virtue of their lack of consideration for others by crying and making a show of tears only to repeat the same ad nauseum.
The Mission made the members read only passages they wanted them to know- Nothing more. Most of the elders are iliterate whose knowledge in the Scriptures ( as far as I know) was limited and calculated to serve the purpose. Typical of Catholic church that they discouraged private interpretation!They rearranged emphases of OT and New Testament in order to reimpose the rule of Levites in the Church! They discouraged reciting Lord’s prayer giving reason it was only for the nominal Christians! ‘After this manner pray ye’ (Mt.6:9). In their view there was to be a hierarchy and they were to be part of the select few 144,000 souls meant for Zion!
The pastors and elders are those who have left all or burned the bridges after them so to speak. All their sermons are taped and sent for screening. They are put charge of ‘faith homes’ anywhere and are liable to be sent on short notice to anywhere decided by the Mission HQ. There are fat and lean areas the latter being assemblies that do not have many members to provide for their necessities. One may judge what it would mean. In such a controlled atmosphere with sisters and brothers bound by invisible handcuffs the Alwin controversy was bound to happen.
At the time of marriage I joined this group. I was a sunday school teacher and wrote hymns etc. For me reading Bible was not merely for reading. ‘Truth shall make you free’ it is said. One fine day I had enough or rather I saw their pernicious doctrine and decided to quit. The pastor asked if I was speaking in tongues under Holy Spirit or was it something else. I admitted I was mistaken and that made me get out of their hold.
I have never even come across these rascals after that day. It was as phony as my marriage which had to stop somewhere. The Pentecost Mission must be still around and never more I got entangled with the group.
Nov.9 2015: With regards to speaking in tongues, it was seen and heard on the day of Pentecost. As Jesus promised to his disciples it happened. He had to go to his Father in order to found the Church. This speaking was therefore a sign for all. There were many gentiles present on that momentous occasion. The Holy Spirit gave several abilities for building up the Church. I believe speaking in tongues accompanied with interpretation do serve any local church if it were done properly and the counsel has some grain of truth to benefit the assembly. . In the Pentecostal Mission bad faith of the pastors to differentiate the ‘holy’ and ‘nominal’ on the basis of speaking in tongues has already debased their ministry. Each member of the Body of Christ is part of that Church by faith. No longer he has to prove others by making noises. Such tarrying for Holy Spirit as insisted by TPM is an useless exercise. Having mastered English to write this post I did not set out to recite alphabets first. Similarly faith in the salvation offered by the blood of Christ has made it unnecessary to prove my life before some.
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I am going to send you what my Father has promised; but stay in the city until you have been clothed with power from on high.”(Luke 24:49)
4All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues[a] as the Spirit enabled them.(Acts2:4,17) Fulfilment of Joel’s prophesy occurred on the day of Pentecost. Resurrected Christ commanded the apostles to remain in Jerusalem till the Holy Spirit was poured out on all peoples. This was a visible and aural testimony of Church on the make. It was an historical event in the calender of Church. This Church is made up of all who are purchased by the blood of Christ.(Ref:Parable of the wedding guest who was refused)
The Church is one and it is what becomes the dwelling place of God. In the Gospel of John we have the prayer of Jesus to his Father. Oneness where triune God is united with the Church will be revealed only where ” The kingdoms of this world are become the kingdoms of our Lord, and of his Christ; and he shall reign for ever and ever.(Rev 11:15)
There are certain Pentecostals who teach the believers to replay the Day of Pentecost and it is contrary to God’s Will. It the work of man and Pharisees of latter day than the work of Grace. These cults disguise their control over the mind of believers by saying their church is fundamental in that it is going back to the first century church in practice and worship. They may call themselves New Testament Church!
In our time we saw how such replays end up. Woodstock festival thirty years later was repeated. There was nothing of the spontaneity and reality of the first. In recent months we heard about tea party in the USA. This was spearheaded by the Republican Party. Wasn’t it a tame affair?
The unfolding of Church is according to Divine Will and Spirit is also at work. Cold Replay of man to imitate the Real shall only end in disaster.
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