De ghetto oecumene
De federatie van kerkleiders in het telugu taalgebied Andrah Pradesh India heeft op zondag 22 januari 2017, de dag van christelijke eenheid, een oecumenische gebedsdienst gehouden in het Lutherse kerkgebouw te Hyderabad. Naast Katholieke, Lutheraanse bisschoppen namen hoogwaardigheidsbekleders van vele christelijk denominaties deel aan de dienst om speciaal het 500 jarig bestaan van protestantisme te gedenken.
Bij die gelegenheid schreef James Kottoor, journalist voor het hervormingsgezind tijdschrift in India CCV een artikel over ghetto oecumene.
Thelugu Churches embrace each other
FEDERATION OF TELUGU CHURCHES (FTC)
(Apex Body of Bishops & Church-Heads in A.P. & T.S.)
(known earlier as A.P. Federation of Churches - Regd. No. 89 of 2008)
TCBC Center, 2/3 Sikh Village, Secunderabad, T.S. - 500009
Cell: 9849965958 E-mail: <email@example.com>
(Note: “I pray that they will all be one, just as you and I are one -- as you are in me, Father, and I am in you. And may they be in us so that the world will believe you sent me.” Jn.17.21. It is this prayer of Jesus which is the fountain of the power that propels the ecumenical movement.
And what is the final goal of this movement or the scope of Jesus’ prayer? That scope is not a narrow sectarian one, namely: “that the Catholic church may believe, that all divided churches may believe, that all fighting religions may believe, that all believers, unsbelievers and agnostics may believe, but the whole world may believe, that is every one born of and woman may believe.
Some 40 years ago while editing the New Leader from Chennai, I used to write addressing Catholics: “Ours is a ghetto Catholicism” which includes only registered members of the Catholic church. This is a contradiction in terms since, Catholic means: ‘Universal’ not excluding anyone, not divisive. The present Telugu federation of all Churches in Andhra definitely is a giant leap forward but falls very short of the vision of Jesus which includes not only Christians and believers. Therefore this too is a Ghetto Ecumenism, which has a long way to go forward to reach the goal, taking inspiration from what Pope Francis said: “My God is not a Catholic God.” There is no God, if there is a God, only for Catholics, Christians or believers only. He is there, for all mankind even if some do not believe in Him.
We saw how Francis went to Sweden and embraced a lady head of the Church there. We, all of us, have still to cross any number of hurdles, barriers before we can reach up to the vision Jesus has opened for us in his prayer for Unity. It is a prayer for the Unity of all mankind -- believers and unbelievers. In a globalised world today, we are living and to be relevant in this worl we have to live in a Post-religious vosion of Jesus, that is, a world that knows not the divisions created by different religions.
What should bind us all together is the bond of common humane humanity, brotherhood and sisterhood under the fatherhood of God. This is what Sri Narayana Guru preached: “One God, one religion and one Caste if you want, the human caste.” This again is what Jesus highlighted when he present himself as the SON OF MAN, 85 times in the Gospes, that is, he was presenting himself as the Ideal man for all times, all places, all cultures, all countries and all religions.
So may the ecumenical movement of the Thelugu Churches reach its Jesus-willed Goal at the earliest and inspire others to follow them in their foot steps. James Kottoor, editor.