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Re: Malankara Orthodox Syrian Christian Group why philip oommen should be worried

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  • alice john
    Dear Georgy, Congratulations for your spiritual, intellectual and scholastic output. You don t need anything other than kneeling down at the feet of the pope
    Message 1 of 12 , May 6 5:44 PM
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      Dear Georgy,

      Congratulations for your spiritual, intellectual and scholastic output. You don't need anything other than kneeling down at the feet of the pope as your infallible head, salvation and earthly prosperity is automatic and eternally guaranteed. The extreme protestant churches are also nonetheless any way different in anything. They can do anything under the umbrella of spirituality; your allegiance to their profligacy and your money are the most important factors that count.

      Don't worry; your optimistic approach will give life to at least some yearning believers. What the Bakan of the mythology said to Biman is going to prove at the end of the day. All these trepidations of the leftist and rightist churches will end up in the mouth of the Antichrist who is already waiting at the door for a total sweep. Only the Orthodox churches, the Bride of the Bridegroom, that was born in fire and blood will be able to meet the Groom in the inner chamber for the betrothal. Let us pray for their repentance and return to buy some oil for their empty lamps.

      Keep up with your cerebrations against the rock and roll Christianity, Georgy.

      E.S.John, Australia

      georgy s thomas <samadhanasnehi@...> wrote:
      Philip Oommen (message # 1468) is thrilled to bits since he finds
      even Roman Catholic priests joining in television evangelism.
      According to him, what this means is that the born-again, rock and
      roll Christianity as practised by the likes of him under the
      leadership of sundry pastors is now making inroads into the Catholic
      religion. How wrong can one get to be? If I were Philip, the news
      that Roman Catholic priests are joining in television evangelism
      would have made me worried, very worried.
      To understand why, let us look at the broad picture. If one were to
      use the terminology borrowed from information technology (IT), while
      other Christian denominations are mere verticals, the Roman Catholic
      Church is a full-service provider of end-to-end solutions. The uniate
      churches are the verticals within the Catholic fold. So you like the
      West Syrian liturgy and still want to be a Catholic? No problem, join
      the Syro-Malankara church in Kerala (Malayalam) or the Syrian
      Catholic church in the Middle-East (Arabic). Even as you're
      spared the cultural shock of an alien liturgy, you can still be
      Catholic, or as one priest who invited me to the Malankara Catholic
      fold said, ``you can be a flower in the garden of the
      Pope''.
      What did you say? You would rather be at home listening to the
      liturgy and surrounded by the symbols and rituals of the Byzantine
      Church? Not to worry, you can be a Byzantine and a Catholic at once
      by joining the Melkite Catholic Church of Antioch (Arabic), Melkite
      Catholic Church of Alexandria (Greek in an Egyptian ambience), or
      even the Greek Catholic Church. As you can see, the Catholic church
      would like to be everything to every Christian.
      Nevertheless, for a long time, Rome didn't have the equivalent of
      the exuberant, rock and roll version of American Christianity which
      had spawned regional spin-offs everywhere. Then small, localised
      developments began to take place in Catholic Churches across the
      world where its adherents began to practise a version of Catholicism
      which resembled American rock and roll Christianity. Like Potta in
      Kerala. Though the church leadership's instinctive response was
      to try and stamp it out, eventually, as always, realisation dawned.
      Or rather, as the Brits would say, the penny dropped: Rock and roll
      Christianity has its appeal for a small section of the faithful who
      demand a more emotional religion with lots of singing and dancing and
      jumping about. Most of them are slightly unhinged characters to boot.
      Once they achieved this conceptual clarity, the Catholics began to
      institutionalise the Potta experiment. So if you are a Catholic
      faithful in Kerala, and you are someone who feels the urge to
      practise a more emotive religion, you go to Potta for a week, do your
      jig (as the yanks would put it), and once you've got the euphoria
      out of the system, come back and lead the life of a good Catholic.
      Yes, as a flower in the Pope's garden. God knows how many
      thousands of Catholics who would have been lost to the Pentecostal
      faith were retained with Rome thanks to Pota.
      Now as Philip has observed, Catholics are experimenting with TV
      evangelism as well. Philip should be worried, very worried. Because
      so far, experiments like Pota to contain American-style rock and roll
      Christianity #8212; which is very dear to Philip and Co #8212; have
      been restricted to regional pockets. But sooner than later, the
      Catholic bureaucracy in Rome will gather all these localised
      knowledge bases, and then after drawing the right lessons from them,
      rollout a massive worldwide crackdown against American evangelism. At
      that time, to put it in American parlance, Philip and Co can't do
      nothin' but start runnin'.
      Historically, this is what Catholicism has always done. Counter the
      challenger by appropriating his language and symbols. The uniate
      churches are just one plank of it. How can we forget the
      counter-reformation of Europe, where the Catholic Church, by a
      combination of internal reform and the missionary zeal of the Jesuits
      #8212; who matched the Protestants word for word in their scholarship
      #8212; rolled back Protestantism from Bavaria (the present pope is a
      Bavarian), Austria, France, Poland and Bohemia (in present-day
      Belgium if I am not mistaken)? Conceptual clarity on the issues
      involved preceded this success. Catholicism made the crucial
      intellectual breakthrough that changes taking place in European
      society at large involving the rise of merchant class had played a
      role in presenting Protestant faith as attractive. I quote from the
      Britannica encyclopaedia, ``The traditional Roman Catholic
      prohibition of any lending of money at interest as `usury',
      the monastic glorification of poverty as an ascetic ideal, and the
      Roman Catholic system of holidays as times when no work was to be
      done were all seen by the rising merchant class as obstacles to
      financial development.'' Once the necessary adjustments were
      made to make allowances for these felt needs, Catholic
      counter-reformation could gather strength.
      Catholic forays into TV evangelism should be seen in this context as
      their attempt to understand the strength of the medium, and not as
      going Pentecostal like poor Philip thinks.
      God knows we are not perfect, but sanctimonious characters like
      Philip & Co who are always criticising the traditional churches and
      their apostolic traditions are strangely oblivious to their own
      shortcomings. To point out a few:
      . They are forever quoting from the Bible, but paradoxically,
      can't seem to trust the word of God, since they are forever
      trying to organise newer versions of the book, leading to distortions
      and rewrites.
      . They are very harsh in criticising the practices of traditional
      churches using so-called logic and reasoning (for instance,
      questioning the need for intercessionary prayers). But their logic
      and reasoning deserts them when it comes to dealing with the policies
      of the United States and Israel, to whom they seem to be very
      emotionally attached. To the Pentecostal types, these two countries
      can do no wrong. The evangelicals are ready to justify even their
      worst crimes against humanity by providing apocalyptic, mumbo-jumbo
      interpretations.
      . The evangelicals heap scorn upon traditional Christianity citing
      schisms and internal differences, but they are ready to acquiesce
      when power-hungry pastors create schisms and form new denominations
      and even turn them into cults.
      Philip Oommen can continue heaping scorn on his mother church which
      he seems to have deserted after falling prey to the allure of
      American evangelism. But his sanctimonious self can do nothing to
      destroy our faith which is built on strong foundations.
      Faithfully,
      Georgy S Thomas
      Bangalore






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    • Babu Johnson
      When we want things around us to change, the best place to start in within ourselves. Lord, grant that my frustrations can be a motivation to better myself and
      Message 2 of 12 , May 6 10:48 PM
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        When we want things around us to change, the best place to start in within ourselves. Lord, grant that my frustrations can be a motivation to better myself and my environment.
      • thomas george
        dear Georgy, well said and my sincere thanks. Its been quiet some time since we have been living with this member from puramattom orthodox church . ( frankly,
        Message 3 of 12 , May 7 2:37 AM
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          dear Georgy,

          well said and my sincere thanks.

          Its been quiet some time since we have been living with this "member from puramattom orthodox church".

          ( frankly, if he is truly a member of puramattom church, the graves of his forefathers should be opened and the decaying bones should be fed to the local stray dogs)

          bye

          Thomas
          Puthupally
        • Cherian, Cherry
          Dear George, Brilliant and well researched post and an apt reply to our lost friend Philip Oomen. Wish I could have replied just as you did. Keep more of these
          Message 4 of 12 , May 8 5:09 PM
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            Dear George,

            Brilliant and well researched post and an apt reply to our lost friend
            Philip Oomen. Wish I could have replied just as you did. Keep more of
            these coming.


            + Prayers +


            Cherian
          • Jacob Mathew
            I see that we are ganging up to silence one or two persons who have some differing viewpoints. I am not necessarily agreeing to their points of view; but
            Message 5 of 12 , May 8 6:47 PM
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              I see that we are ganging up to "silence" one or two persons who have
              some differing viewpoints. I am not necessarily agreeing to their points
              of view; but there is some value in hearing all sides of a story.

              Also, one of the problem we, Keralites, have is that we do not know how
              to provide a good critique. We can critique a topic or viewpoint; but
              you should never make it personal. People get hurt when you direct the
              venom at them personally. I hope that we can respect their viewpoints;
              express our point of view why we disagree with their stand and should go
              on. I am impressed that Mr. Philip never personally attacked anyone; he
              was critiquing some of our practices, which he does not believe in
              (intercessonary prayers, saints, etc.)
              .
              Today in the church I attended the priest was giving a sermon about
              confidence and faith. He mentioned about early Christian Church and how
              Jews were ex-communicating everyone who were accepting Jesus' teachings.
              That was because they had different beliefs than the mainstream.
              Remember Galileo who was excommunicated because he said earth was round.
              Recently, apparently in North Carolina, a church kicked out 7 families
              because they were democrats and voted for Kerry!

              When you take a step back, you will see these actions in a different
              light and see how unwise it was to torture someone because they were
              courageous enough to express their beliefs.

              One of the things I really admire about Rev Billy Graham is that he
              never "bad mouth" anyone else. He simply talks what he believes in. That
              is what makes him so effective and is accepted by all Christians.
              Similarly Mother Teresa, while strongly believing in Jesus Christ,
              nevertheless loves everyone irrespective of which religion they
              followed. I don't think mother was involved in any conversion.

              So, I hope that we can agree that everyone has a right to share their
              views without hurting anyone else. Just because what they believe is
              different than what we believe does not make them any worse than we are
              or a bad person.

              Remember, man was created in the image of God. There is divinity in
              everyone of us. When Christ died, he converted our physical bodies into
              a place where God /Holy Spirit can indwell. God does not make any junk!

              Jacob
              Hudson, Ohio
            • Athanasios Thirumeni
              All the goodness of the past, the present, and the future, Christ bestows upon His people. In the mysterious ages of the past the Lord Jesus was His Father s
              Message 6 of 12 , May 9 12:17 AM
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                All the goodness of the past, the present, and the future, Christ bestows upon His people. In the mysterious ages of the past the Lord Jesus was His Father's first elect, and in His election He gave us an interest, for we were chosen in Him from before the foundation of the world.

                "Who hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings."-Ephesians 1:3

                He had from all eternity the prerogatives of Sonship, as His Father's only-begotten and well-beloved Son, and He has, in the riches of His grace, by adoption and regeneration, elevated us to sonship also, so that to us He has given "power to become the sons of God." The eternal covenant, based upon suretiship and confirmed by oath, is ours, for our strong consolation and security. In the everlasting settlements of predestinating wisdom and omnipotent decree, the eye of the Lord Jesus was ever fixed on us; and we may rest assured that in the whole roll of destiny there is not a line which militates against the interests of His redeemed. The great betrothal of the Prince of Glory is ours, for it is to us that He is affianced, as the sacred nuptials shall ere long declare to an assembled universe.

                The marvellous incarnation of the God of heaven, with all the amazing condescension and humiliation which attended it, is ours. Whatever blissful consequences flow from perfect obedience, finished atonement, resurrection, ascension, or intercession, all are ours by His own gift. Upon His breastplate he is now bearing our names; and in His authoritative pleadings at the throne He remembers our persons and pleads our cause. His dominion over principalities and powers, and His absolute majesty in heaven, He employs for the benefit of them who trust in Him. His high estate is as much at our service as was His condition of abasement. He who gave Himself for us in the depths of woe and death, doth not withdraw the grant now that He is enthroned in the highest heavens.

                + Athanasios Thirumeni +
              • ronniedaniel1953
                Jacob For most of us what happens is that we are not communicating in our mothertoungue. That makes a huge difference. Recently in the ICON forum one very
                Message 7 of 12 , May 9 11:14 AM
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                  Jacob

                  For most of us what happens is that we are not communicating in our
                  mothertoungue. That makes a huge difference. Recently in the ICON
                  forum one very elder person from Detriot made a comment whcih was
                  seeming to be disrespectful of our Bishops. People showered abuses on
                  him left and right without actually understanding the person and his
                  English language skills.
                  Therefore, I think most of the time it is not out of disrespect.

                  Also, we should not foget the fact that ours is a faith based
                  religion. We are tought to simply beleive that the whole world was
                  made in 6 days. You have to beleive that Man was made in the image of
                  God and woman was made from the rib of Man. You have to beleive that
                  Jesus was born of a virgin and died and resurrected.

                  These are the general beleifs. And when it comes to Orthodox, our
                  fiath teaches us that we must venerate our Saints and seek their
                  intercession. You have a problem if someone quuestions your faith.
                  There is no disucssion on faith. For eg. I am sure you and philip
                  would get annoyed if some one argues with you that Jesus was not born
                  of a virgin. Right??
                  Obviously, we get annoyed when someone questions our faith of
                  intercessionary prayers to saints which was taught to us from our
                  childhood. And for our members who are of the last generation it
                  would be extremely difficult to accept and they get angry when they
                  hear these pastors airing it in our forums.

                  I am not denying Philip's right to promote Pentacost sect in this
                  forum. But, let him take the Pentacost identity and air his views,
                  rather than claiming to be a member of our Orhtodox church in
                  Puramattom.

                  Pastor Philip has two chooices here. 1. Learn our real faith from his
                  priest or Bishop if he is still an Orthodox Christian. Consider faith
                  as faith, and not a subject of arguement. 2. He can identify himself
                  as a pentacost pastor and preach his beliefs to members of this
                  forum.

                  This forum is open doesn't mean that he or anyone else can abuse it.
                  There are some readers who are looking for quality informations
                  compatible with our faith, not pentacost theologies.

                  rgds
                  ronnie



                  --- In MalankaraOrthodoxSyrianChristian@yahoogroups.com, Jacob Mathew
                  <jacob@i...> wrote:
                  > I see that we are ganging up to "silence" one or two persons who
                  have
                  > some differing viewpoints. I am not necessarily agreeing to their
                  points
                  > of view; but there is some value in hearing all sides of a story.
                  >
                  > Also, one of the problem we, Keralites, have is that we do not know
                  how
                  > to provide a good critique. We can critique a topic or viewpoint;
                  but
                  > you should never make it personal. People get hurt when you direct
                  the
                  > venom at them personally. I hope that we can respect their
                  viewpoints;
                  > express our point of view why we disagree with their stand and
                  should go
                  > on. I am impressed that Mr. Philip never personally attacked
                  anyone; he
                  > was critiquing some of our practices, which he does not believe in
                  > (intercessonary prayers, saints, etc.)
                  > .
                  > Today in the church I attended the priest was giving a sermon about
                  > confidence and faith. He mentioned about early Christian Church and
                  how
                  > Jews were ex-communicating everyone who were accepting Jesus'
                  teachings.
                  > That was because they had different beliefs than the mainstream.
                  > Remember Galileo who was excommunicated because he said earth was
                  round.
                  > Recently, apparently in North Carolina, a church kicked out 7
                  families
                  > because they were democrats and voted for Kerry!
                  >
                  > When you take a step back, you will see these actions in a
                  different
                  > light and see how unwise it was to torture someone because they
                  were
                  > courageous enough to express their beliefs.
                  >
                  > One of the things I really admire about Rev Billy Graham is that he
                  > never "bad mouth" anyone else. He simply talks what he believes in.
                  That
                  > is what makes him so effective and is accepted by all Christians.
                  > Similarly Mother Teresa, while strongly believing in Jesus Christ,
                  > nevertheless loves everyone irrespective of which religion they
                  > followed. I don't think mother was involved in any conversion.
                  >
                  > So, I hope that we can agree that everyone has a right to share
                  their
                  > views without hurting anyone else. Just because what they believe
                  is
                  > different than what we believe does not make them any worse than we
                  are
                  > or a bad person.
                  >
                  > Remember, man was created in the image of God. There is divinity in
                  > everyone of us. When Christ died, he converted our physical bodies
                  into
                  > a place where God /Holy Spirit can indwell. God does not make any
                  junk!
                  >
                  > Jacob
                  > Hudson, Ohio
                • Cherian, Cherry
                  Dear Jacob Mathew, Your concerns are genuine and certainly deserve merit. Some of the heated replies were highly uncalled for. I condemn the unfortunate and
                  Message 8 of 12 , May 9 4:23 PM
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                    Dear Jacob Mathew,

                    Your concerns are genuine and certainly deserve merit. Some of the
                    heated replies were highly uncalled for. I condemn the unfortunate and
                    reckless manner in which a couple of list members reacted and the
                    statement "the graves of his forefathers should be opened and the
                    decaying bones should be fed to the local stray dogs" crossed all
                    limits. I wonder how Philip's forefathers who in all probability would
                    have been true Orthodox believers should in any way be held responsible
                    for his present conduct. One should think twice before issuing such
                    harsh and hurtful statements. While certainly condemning those posters I
                    believe it is also fair to examine Philip Oomen's role and conduct as
                    well.

                    Ever since I joined this forum, Philip Oomen's messages arrived at
                    regular intervals extolling everyone to abandon time tested practices
                    and beliefs of our church in favour of Pentecostal/Evangelical type of
                    worship. Myself lacking sufficient knowledge in these matters didn't
                    respond to the messages. Nevertheless being a keen student I awaited
                    responses from Philip when a number of fellow list members sought
                    clarifications in matters Biblical, Theological and Historical,
                    especially Douglas Brandow, Ronnie Daniel, ES John and George S Thomas.
                    But to the best of my knowledge barring a few muted and incoherent
                    replies all queries were met with nothing but a deafening silence from
                    Philip's side. Even repeated reminders fell on deaf ears. But Philip
                    Oomen went on sending critical mails' dealing with a range of subjects
                    from liturgical practices to prayers recitation to intercession of
                    saints to..........the list is endless. In some instances Philip
                    (perhaps unknowingly) dropped his Orthodox mask thereby exposing to
                    everyone where his true allegiances lie.

                    At this point let me reiterate that I am no way objecting to Philip's
                    right to express what he feels is right. But in a discussion forum the
                    onus also lie with Philip to come out with satisfactory answers and
                    defend himself when fellow members seek clarification. Else his
                    monologues naturally become nothing but products churned out of a
                    propaganda machine thereby abusing this forum to further his agenda. Not
                    everyone make take kindly to such propaganda and some people may react
                    violently. This is precisely what happened here.

                    Philip Oomen is free to express his views, no one is stopping him.
                    However Philip is also responsible to answer related queries as well and
                    should not expect everyone to remain silent and accept his postings at
                    face value. Also some basic courtesy needs to be shown while posting on
                    an Orthodox forum, for instance veneration of Saints being a vital
                    teaching of Orthodox belief, no one how much ever opposed he is to that
                    practice should ridicule it. That is tantamount to insult and doing so
                    is certain to invite undesirable reactions. The freedom to post comes
                    with responsibilities. One may use it for debating and involving in
                    dialogue but not to propagate a hidden agenda.



                    + Prayers +


                    Cherian
                  • ronniedaniel1953
                    Excellent words Cherry. If Philip Oommen still wanted to continue with his posts, may god forgive him for his behaviour. rgds ronnie ... and ... would ...
                    Message 9 of 12 , May 9 6:54 PM
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                      Excellent words Cherry.
                      If Philip Oommen still wanted to continue with his posts, may god
                      forgive him for his behaviour.

                      rgds
                      ronnie


                      --- In MalankaraOrthodoxSyrianChristian@yahoogroups.com, "Cherian,
                      Cherry" <C.Cherian@M...> wrote:
                      > Dear Jacob Mathew,
                      >
                      > Your concerns are genuine and certainly deserve merit. Some of the
                      > heated replies were highly uncalled for. I condemn the unfortunate
                      and
                      > reckless manner in which a couple of list members reacted and the
                      > statement "the graves of his forefathers should be opened and the
                      > decaying bones should be fed to the local stray dogs" crossed all
                      > limits. I wonder how Philip's forefathers who in all probability
                      would
                      > have been true Orthodox believers should in any way be held
                      responsible
                      > for his present conduct. One should think twice before issuing such
                      > harsh and hurtful statements. While certainly condemning those
                      posters I
                      > believe it is also fair to examine Philip Oomen's role and conduct
                      as
                      > well.
                      >
                      > Ever since I joined this forum, Philip Oomen's messages arrived at
                      > regular intervals extolling everyone to abandon time tested
                      practices
                      > and beliefs of our church in favour of Pentecostal/Evangelical
                      type of
                      > worship. Myself lacking sufficient knowledge in these matters
                      didn't
                      > respond to the messages. Nevertheless being a keen student I
                      awaited
                      > responses from Philip when a number of fellow list members sought
                      > clarifications in matters Biblical, Theological and Historical,
                      > especially Douglas Brandow, Ronnie Daniel, ES John and George S
                      Thomas.
                      > But to the best of my knowledge barring a few muted and incoherent
                      > replies all queries were met with nothing but a deafening silence
                      from
                      > Philip's side. Even repeated reminders fell on deaf ears. But
                      Philip
                      > Oomen went on sending critical mails' dealing with a range of
                      subjects
                      > from liturgical practices to prayers recitation to intercession of
                      > saints to..........the list is endless. In some instances Philip
                      > (perhaps unknowingly) dropped his Orthodox mask thereby exposing to
                      > everyone where his true allegiances lie.
                      >
                      > At this point let me reiterate that I am no way objecting to
                      Philip's
                      > right to express what he feels is right. But in a discussion forum
                      the
                      > onus also lie with Philip to come out with satisfactory answers and
                      > defend himself when fellow members seek clarification. Else his
                      > monologues naturally become nothing but products churned out of a
                      > propaganda machine thereby abusing this forum to further his
                      agenda. Not
                      > everyone make take kindly to such propaganda and some people may
                      react
                      > violently. This is precisely what happened here.
                      >
                      > Philip Oomen is free to express his views, no one is stopping him.
                      > However Philip is also responsible to answer related queries as
                      well and
                      > should not expect everyone to remain silent and accept his
                      postings at
                      > face value. Also some basic courtesy needs to be shown while
                      posting on
                      > an Orthodox forum, for instance veneration of Saints being a vital
                      > teaching of Orthodox belief, no one how much ever opposed he is to
                      that
                      > practice should ridicule it. That is tantamount to insult and
                      doing so
                      > is certain to invite undesirable reactions. The freedom to post
                      comes
                      > with responsibilities. One may use it for debating and involving in
                      > dialogue but not to propagate a hidden agenda.
                      >
                      >
                      >
                      > + Prayers +
                      >
                      >
                      > Cherian
                    • Jacob Mathew
                      I appreciate all the follow up emails and the explanations. Some general points of clarifications and my thoughts may be in order. Many people go to church
                      Message 10 of 12 , May 9 7:37 PM
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                        I appreciate all the follow up emails and the explanations. Some general
                        points of clarifications
                        and my thoughts may be in order.

                        Many people go to church because they want "peace." Jesus Christ told us
                        that he is giving his
                        "peace" to us before he left this world. In our services, giving slomo
                        or peace is very
                        important. People who come to church may have worries and problems that
                        they want relief from. In
                        Kerala, if anyone goes to church, because of the in-fighting going on,
                        they don't feel they are
                        getting that peace promised by Jesus. When people quit the church and go
                        to other denominations,
                        it is because they think they may have a better chance of finding that
                        peace elsewhere. It is our
                        responsibility to create an environment in our churches so that people
                        who attend the service can meditate
                        silently and leave in "peace."

                        The same can be said about these web forums. Many people read the
                        emails because they want to get spiritual nourishment such as that
                        offered by our bishops, priests and laity in
                        this forum. Unfortunately after the name calling began we don't see any
                        posts from bishops and other
                        positive material. The people who read these may feel the same situation
                        they feel when they
                        attend a service in Kerala with the constant in-fighting and name
                        calling. So, let us debate the
                        issues sensibly. Let us learn from the debates. Let us use these debates
                        as a way of growing in
                        Christian life. If Philip does not want to respond, we cannot force him
                        and we should leave it at
                        that. I do not think that we need to answer every point raised by him.
                        But like Cherry aptly
                        pointed out, let us not stoop down and abuse his ancestors.

                        I do not think our faith is so shallow that a person can post something
                        in an email and that will
                        cause mass exodus from our church. I sincerely believe that God has a
                        plan for everything and He
                        knows why He is subjecting us to this. Another way of looking at this is
                        that we do not develop
                        the necessary strength unless we meet obstacles. (Like our muscles
                        develop when we undergo
                        resistance training, we develop spiritual maturity when our faith is
                        tested.) May be God is using
                        Philip to test our faith and resolve; to see how deep our faith and
                        belief is. So, let us take
                        this as a positive experience.

                        Even Jesus Christ was tempted and tested by Satan when he came out of
                        the 40 day fast. And we can
                        all learn from how Jesus handled it. Similarly, when they brought the
                        prostitute in front of him, He
                        did not lash out at them knowing very well that they are testing Him.
                        Instead, he kept quiet.
                        Sometimes keeping quiet may be the right thing to do. Let us not always
                        dignify every remarks
                        with an answer.

                        In this connection, I have a question. Why does God tolerate Satan in
                        this world? We know that
                        God can destroy Satan in a moment if He wants to. Why is he not doing
                        it? Is God allowing Satan
                        to tempt us and to run us through hardships to strengthen us in the
                        process? If we know that, how
                        are we going to respond? Like Job? Remember, God even tested Abraham.
                        So, God decided that Satan
                        has a role in this world. I would like your opinion on this.

                        Like I said, I know that God has a plan for everything and He always
                        does something for the ultimate good of us.
                        It is upto us to recognize it and to behave appropriately when we face
                        them.
                        ("Lead us not into temptation; but deliver us from the evil one.")

                        Jacob, Hudson, Ohio
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