Thank you Mr Thomas TB and Mani P Sam
- Hello All,
Let me introduce myself like the others did. My name is Eldho Kuriakose. From NY, originally from Piravom, Ernakulam, Kerala. Attend the St. Thomas Orthodox Church Long Island. Went to Kendriya Vidyalaya Central school in Vellor till fifth grade, then came to NY in 88. I added the last part to flag myself to anyone who might have gone to school with me :).
I was greatly encouraged by the messages from THomas TB and Mani P Sam. If anyone takes the time to read through the poems of St. Ephrem and those fathers that everyone talks about, we will see that many of the attitudes in our church are offending to Christ and those Fathers who placed the foundations of our liturgy and services. St. Ephrem wrote many poems to fight the gnostics such weird theologies that undermined Christ. But St. Ephrem's poems rarely bash anyone, rather they focus on the message, divinity and wonder of Christ. At the last lines of the poem, he mentions the falseness of the other teachings.
We also have to look at how false those teachings were. They were fundamentally challenging God and challenging the reality of Christ. How can we say that the other churches today are ANYTHING like that? The Catholics, the Marthomites, the Pentecostals and the CSI churches are not challenging God or Christ. IF we claim to be part of the TRUE faith, we should be mature enough to see that these churches proclaim the same message that we do. In fact each of these churches have a special focus on Christianity. The protestant churches emphasize the importance of the scripture, the importance of having a personal relationship with God, they have an open passion for Christ and his message, and the importance of ministering to others. The Catholic church places itself into social issues a lot. They seem to have a need for making faith practical. Our church has all these things mentioned above to varying degrees, we also recognize that tradition, the teachings of saints and fathers are nescesarry for the spiritual growth of ourselves and the Church. Some will probably say that the protestants go too far with things like Sola Scriptura and the Catholics go too far by designing 40 minute liturgies.. but surely we have done our share of damage by blindly saying "tradition and history". I mean, :) there were times in my church when kids would think twice before clapping while singing.. afraid that it is not "Orthodox" !! Fornutately that is a thing of the past for our church.
Obviously, there will be many churches. Churches will spring up based on tradition and even personal human needs. Some of us need history and tradition in our churches. Others find those things to be distracting. But if they are both true to Christ, they are like Christ said, branches on the true vine.
Recently I have noticed that we have developed a distaste for catholics based on something that the Indian Government said. They said that only churches like ours can perform missionary work. They said that Catholics and other western churches are not allowed for some reasons (Ok, maybe some of these reasons are valid). But So what?? I see this as an effort on the Government's part to divide people based on religion .. like tehy have done soo many times between Hindus and Muslims. We should not allow that to happen to the Church. Even if some of the reasons were valid, we should not be fooled. Please see it as an outsider trying to break apart a family by pitting one member against the other. That is all it is.