Spirituality And Tourism


Courtesy: C. GEORGE JOSEPH

"Do not be yoked with unbelievers. For what partnership have Righteousness and iniquity" (2 Cor. 6:14)

The report in the Indian Express of November 7, 2010 stating that spirituality and tourism are two sides of the same coin seems to be an eye opener to most of us.  Until then, we had misconceptions about both spirituality and tourism. Since we are Biblically ill-literate, we could not understand or appreciate, any relation between the two, until it was explained by the Bishop through the Indian Express. But, if we consider both Spirituality and Tourism as subjects outside the purview of the Bible, then there will be nothing in common for us to engage in this discussion.
Now let us take a look at ONE SIDE OF THE COIN
One of the reasons why we are unable to find “Good Samaritans” these days may be, perhaps, due to the non-availability of lodges run by spiritual organizations. Those who would like to assist victims of road accidents are dissuaded from taking the risk of not finding a suitable resting place for such persons. We are confident that with the inauguration of suitable lodging places at all main centres by the CSI, where the Church has properties, the number of Good Samaritans will increase and the number of accident victims left on the road uncared for will decline considerably.  
The Bishop’s categorical statement - that “In worldly life, spirituality and materialism are not two separate entities”, and that “there will be no conflict between spirituality and tourism” – the  quintessence of the elaborate discourse by the learned Bishop- is beyond the little knowledge that we have of the Bible and will cut no ice with Biblically ill-literate people like us. 
Under the circumstances, it is our primary duty to get a few of our little doubts clarified.  For example:

1. Proverbs 31:6 tells us about giving strong drink to him, who is ready to pass away, and wine to him, in bitter distress of heart.  Can those in charge of the home stay cottages assure that they would do only what was required, or expected of them, as recorded in the Bible, by providing such drinks to those brought to the Shalom Home Stay Inns, by the Good Samaritans?  Will they acknowledge Psalm 104:15, Isaiah 55:1 and 1 Timothy 5:23, as binding on them in case they are questioned on their action by a well-meaning and devoted church member?
2. It is a usual custom here in Kerala and other States, to serve liquor in the hotel rooms, especially to tourists. Can those running the Shalom Home Stay Inns claim that there will be NO CONFLICT between spirituality and tourism as stated by the Bishop and that their action, if any, of serving liquor or allowing the inmates to consume liquor at their rooms, would be justifiable?
3. CSI Lodgings will, of course, be the most sought after Rest Houses for the terrorists, at least for some time, since the Police are not likely to break open the gate of a Church and the Shalom Home Stay Inns located safely inside the Church compound, as matters stand at present.  But, it will certainly become a target of the Police in due course. Then Sundays will not be the only days when the CSI Church premises will be under the Police surveillance.
As and when the foregoing procedures are given effect to, the Diocese can save on advertisement costs on Home Stay Inns. From the word of mouth of the tourists and Terrorists, who enjoyed their stay at our lodges, the news would naturally spread attracting  more and more tourists and terrorists (as tourists) to the Diocesan lodges. 

Conclusion
Now about the usage of ‘two sides of the coin’, the Dictionary has this to say, “anything can be viewed or thought about differently, just like two sides of the same coin.” Surely, there will be different ways that we can view or think about spirituality, tourism or terrorism. The question is only about the way a Christian would view it. 
What do you say about the probability of terrorists occupying the Diocesan Lodgings and the consequences connected therewith?  What do you say about the probability of the Diocesan Lodgings getting converted slowly, but steadily, into Bars? The only question at the moment is which is good or preferable to the Diocese and the general membership of the North Kerala Diocese.  Let the learned Diocesan Council members, who are the elected representatives, deliberate and take appropriate decision. 
The presence of the Police at some of the CSI Churches has become a regular feature on Sundays. Consequently, attendance and offertory are diminishing in such Churches.  Our prayer is that the Diocesan Home Stay Inns will not become such a source of attraction for the Police in the coming days as safe havens of terrorists. 

If we live for wealth and fame,
We’ll bring dishonour to Christ’s name,
But truth and light will flood our soul,
When we pursue a heavenly goal

(Mr C..George Joseph  is one of the senior members of the C.S.I.Christ Church, Elamkulam, who is loved and respected  by all  in the  Christ church  family. He served as a pastorate committee member and in various positions for more than 26 years in C.S.I.Cathedral, Kottayam. He is now an elected member of the pastorate committee of the Christ church. He is a student of the Word and a guide to TAFTEE students. He shares from the Word of God in the church as well as in other Christian fellowship meetings. He is also the director of operations in India of an international business organization)

C. GEORGE JOSEPH
CHEMMARAPPALLIL
AMBADY RETREAT
CHILAVANNUR ROAD.
COCHIN 682020
S. INDIA
Mob. 98460 34221
Tel. Res. 0484 2312873 

4 comments:

Anonymous said...

Sir,
Your elaborations are good.Language also fantastic.This is the only way to reach our people in overseas.May I request you to publish the malayalam translation at the earliest.remember in prayers.

Anonymous said...

Curruption is always there in CSI Churches/diocesan in all levels at different degrees. Why only now they (whoever behind Save CSI) are worried?, I suspect all this started due to the problems in sharing the spoils/power

Rolond said...

CORRUPTION is common everywhere.That is a global phenomina.But keeping your mouth mum is not the way to abolish it.There are certain people in csi those who are fed up with the corruption.Like minded people started a union and it is our moral responsibility to encourage them rather than blaming.
I think nobody in the leadership of savecsi working for positions or power.

Anonymous said...

It like this, corruption in church was always there. But it was not there in large scale. Now its like, somehow make crores of money before they leave the church authority and power. but these men are really unwise, because many problems are behind them and its all gonna come together when they step down from their designations. And at that point of time no one is gonna care for them, because all of a sudden they became nothing.

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