Repent in Dust and Ashes

The unfolding events in the last few days should make all of us repent sitting in dust and ashes. It should give us an awareness of the extent to which our church has become corrupted by the world and its ways and our complicity in it either as a result of our passivity or active connivance. It is not an occasion to celebrate victory as the removal of a bishop does not mean that we have removed the corruption and moral depravity in which we are all caught up. This is a time for introspection and repentance. This “evil spirit” can be exorcised only through genuine repentance and prayer.

The last bishop, the Rt. Rev. Dr. George Isaac, a fine person of rectitude, became a victim of the mafia within the diocese, who unwittingly led him into a trap. As he was a man of conscience, he resigned and left the diocese. A group of clergy, who were trained in the ways of the world rather than in the ways of the kingdom by the same mafia and with little to claim in the way of God’s wisdom, continued to ‘rule over’ us. The same greedy, self-serving and mammon worshipping mafia continued to play out their nefarious designs. Unlike Bishop Isaac, Bishop Kuruvilla, with his egotism and greed for power and money, naturally played into the hands of this mafia to his nemesis. The eyes of the fox are always in the chicken’s cage. They used the church and its institutions to fill their coffers. The majority of well-meaning laity allowed themselves to be manipulated and taken for a ride. They did not realize the demon behind these pious platitudes and ecclesiastical vestments. Only when we, the laity rise up and fight these “powers and principalities” armed with the armor of faith, can we bring about a change for the good of the diocese?

The laity must claim their rightful place in the church as the people of God. We need to reclaim the priesthood of all believers. More than the buildings, hierarchies, ecclesiastics and the institutional paraphernalia, we should recognize the one, holy, catholic and apostolic church in the life of the local worshipping community and in its mission in the world. We should look at all clergy and bishops with an element of ‘suspicion’ and we should not allow them to ‘rule over’ us. We are the ones who spoil them by giving them such honorifics as “thirumeni” or “lord”. Their humanity and fallibility must be recognized and enough democratic safe guards must be built into our church polity. Nothing can be a substitute for this vigilance of the faithful.

The mafia laid their trap using the rhetoric of “development”. Development is a word that has gone bad both in the vocabulary of the secular world and the church. In the secular world what it means today is displacing large sections of the tribal and other poor sections of our community from their land and livelihood and destroying our valuable ecosystem. In the Christian circles, it has replaced the word ‘mission’ and come to mean building shopping complexes, home stays, and other tourism related infrastructure, leasing out our properties in prime locations and establishing self-financing and other educational institutions. Educational institutions, which were one of the prime agencies for Christian Mission in the earlier days, have today become a means of illegal gratification by bishops and their goons.

The SAVE CSI had brought to your attention in one of its earlier posts about the appointments in four Higher Secondary Schools newly sanctioned by the Kerala government for the North Kerala Diocese. Surely for sanctioning these schools money must have changed hands. Besides, the bishop has collected around 8.5 crores for the appointment of thirty two teachers in these schools, that too, for posts that have not yet been approved by the government on condition that their amount would be returned if they are not sanctioned. This is a fact that is known to everyone in the diocese and has been covered well in the local media. In the executive committee that met on 20 October 2010, questions were raised regarding this and the treasurer admitted to have received Rs. 1.5 crores. When asked about rest of the amount, bishop responded that the amount received cannot be divulged and the executive committee members have to just trust him on this matter. In the event of transition of administration, who will be responsible for this amount and how can we return the amount to the teachers if their posts are not approved? In short, our educational mission has been riddled with corruption. The church has been so over powered by the rulers of this world and its ways that we have lost our witness. Let us hope that the transition administration appointed by the synod will go into such financial deals and accounts, and save the witness and integrity of the church.

The spiritual malignancy that we are facing today cannot be dealt with by the changing of a bishop or an administration. The situation calls for greater introspection, repentance and turning to God and envisioning a new form of being a church in the world. We need to work for radical changes in the structure of the way the Church of South India is organized. Let us turn this crisis into an opportunity for repentance and transformation and pray for the Holy Spirit to sweep over us all and empower us to stand against the evil forces.

16 comments:

jacobreginald said...

This is 100% correct. We have to go a long way. Both clergy and laity should realise their responsibilities. Every right thinking people should unite to eliminate corruption from the church in all levels otherwise the church cannot recover from the present crisis.

Clifford said...

As I said in CSIPASS.BLOGSPOT.COM, nothing is going to happen if these people repent in dust and ashes. GOD will not listen to them. Evil minded are these creatures. Their aim was to have a sweat free life, respect among the crowd, free home, telephone, electricity, vehicle and Job for their wives in CSI management. If any of these vicars are CHOSEN by GOD, from their face itself we can find the divine brightness on their face. now, look at the faces of vicars... you can see devilish, demonic, cruel, worldly, evil, jealous and what not! all evil together inside one cassock.

This Vicar custom is gone when Jesus Christ came to this world, died and resurrected. He never did told any of his disciple go and learn theology at seminary and spread the Gospel. But He said to the very normal people to go and Spread the GOSPEL unto the end of world. That OLD custom of CHURCH MINISTER, VICAR or PRIEST is no more there. Then why we still accept it? its because, these people wants respect from others and the CASSOCK is a good material for it. Each and every one of us are Royal Priesthood people. you and me can be a priest and WE ARE. this fact is always suppressed to have their upper hand on us.

Some Vicars are on the side of Bishop and some are against Bishop. the vicars against bishop are against only because they are not able to find place in the heart of Bishop or the bishop did not allow them to have what they are interested in. All these are self motive politics.

James 4:12
4:1 Where do wars and fightings among you come from?
Don't they come from your pleasures that war in your members?
4:2 You lust, and don't have. You kill, covet, and can't obtain.
You fight and make war. You don't have, because you don't ask.
4:3 You ask, and don't receive, because you ask with wrong motives,
so that you may spend it for your pleasures.
4:4 You adulterers and adulteresses,
don't you know that friendship with the world is enmity with God?
Whoever therefore wants to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God.
4:5 Or do you think that the Scripture says in vain,
"The Spirit who lives in us yearns jealously"?
4:6 But he gives more grace. Therefore it says,
"God resists the proud, but gives grace to the humble."
4:7 Be subject therefore to God. But resist the devil, and he will flee from you.
4:8 Draw near to God, and he will draw near to you.
Cleanse your hands, you sinners; and purify your hearts, you double-minded.
4:9 Lament, mourn, and weep.
Let your laughter be turned to mourning, and your joy to gloom.
4:10 Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord, and he will exalt you.
4:11 Don't speak against one another, brothers.
He who speaks against a brother and judges his brother,
speaks against the law and judges the law.
But if you judge the law, you are not a doer of the law, but a judge.
4:12 Only one is the lawgiver, who is able to save and to destroy.
But who are you to judge another?

Deepak Ipe said...

The only question that remains is whether the happenings in the diocese will be a never ending story or is this a temporary phase we are going through because of a leader who has no call and vision about the gospel. You have rightly quoted in your article, that the last bishop, the Rt. Rev. Dr. George Isaac, a fine person of rectitude, became a victim of the mafia within the diocese, who unwittingly led him into a trap. Are we sure that the so called mafia is curbed today? Being a person being informed about the activities of the diocese I understand that today it is K.P.Kuruvilla and tomorrow it will be someone else. Corruption in the diocese has been a never ending story and names have changed in due course of time but there has not been an end to corruption. As faithful members of the flock, it is time for us to stick to our motto THAT THEY ALL MAY BE ONE. This oneness should be evident in our interest towards the diocese and its activities. We need to pray in one accord that a complete change will be seen in the administration of the diocese. There were some names like Rev. George Ninan, Rev Jacob Thomas, Rev Godfrey Poomukam, etc which were echoed in the past and people who are now no more in the diocese. Each of them had their own share of corruption charges against them from different factions within the diocese. A true leader needs to lead by example and in today’s situation, I doubt if our diocese has a leadership like that. Even the new generation priests are either party to the corruption or due to fear they do not react, both of which are grave mistakes from their end.

Deepak Ipe said...

The only question that remains is whether the happenings in the diocese will be a never ending story or is this a temporary phase we are going through because of a leader who has no call and vision about the gospel. You have rightly quoted in your article, that the last bishop, the Rt. Rev. Dr. George Isaac, a fine person of rectitude, became a victim of the mafia within the diocese, who unwittingly led him into a trap. Are we sure that the so called mafia is curbed today? Being a person being informed about the activities of the diocese I understand that today it is K.P.Kuruvilla and tomorrow it will be someone else. Corruption in the diocese has been a never ending story and names have changed in due course of time but there has not been an end to corruption. As faithful members of the flock, it is time for us to stick to our motto THAT THEY ALL MAY BE ONE. This oneness should be evident in our interest towards the diocese and its activities. We need to pray in one accord that a complete change will be seen in the administration of the diocese. There were some names like Rev. George Ninan, Rev Jacob Thomas, Rev Godfrey Poomukam, etc which were echoed in the past and people who are now no more in the diocese. Each of them had their own share of corruption charges against them from different factions within the diocese. A true leader needs to lead by example and in today’s situation, I doubt if our diocese has a leadership like that. Even the new generation priests are either party to the corruption or due to fear they do not react, both of which are grave mistakes from their end.

Deepak Ipe said...

The church today has forgotten its calling and mission. We can easily rename the church as Society of South India instead of calling it Church of South India. We have degraded to the depths of corruption and faithlessness, that the objective of the church in its callings is completely forgotten. If we go back in history, the Galatian church was rocked between legalism and faith. There was a set of Jews who believed and propagated that faith was not enough for salvation, but it has to be bundled with works too. To this Paul rightly addressed them as O Foolish Galatians (Galatians 3:1). Today our church is caught in the same chaos. We are overlooking the core values of Christianity and reforming our diocese. I am in agreement with the thought that reformation needs to come in the church. This reformation that we are trying to bring about is in the general affairs of the diocese. However, if this reformation is in the hearts and minds of the people, then we are looking at a completely reawakened church itself. If people understand that we need to turn to God Himself and His infallible word, then all these problems that we find in our diocese and the church will be solved. Today our core problem lies in us – if a child does not fare well in studies, he is sent to be a priest. Sadly speaking when people who do not have the right vision to the Gospel are given charge of leading the people in the light of the word, there is no greater recipe for disaster and this has to be addressed.
In light of today’s sad state of affairs, there is a clear demarcation that has come between God’s work and Church work. It is true that Church work is supposed to be God’s work, but today we are unable to call it the same. Church work has been transformed to a hobby that one does because of one’s interest towards the administration (and politics) of the church. If we again go back to the word, we read in Acts 11:26 that the Disciples of Christ were first called Christians in Antioch. If we are today called by the same name, we need to come up to those standards and be worthy to be called a Christian. The least we are expected is to make sure that our belief of salvation is faith Christ and not works. If we are sure of our belief, we need to examine ourselves first whether we have grown to be called disciples of Christ and if we have then we need to make sure that we just obey his commandment to us. We need to understand the great commission that has been given to each one of us which becomes the vision and the calling of the church.
As I stated before the reformation need to be in hearts and minds of people, and that means we need to reach out to every member of our diocese with THE WORD. The message of the love of Christ and his gift of Salvation needs to be made aware to each and every member of our church. If this is done diligently then there is nothing to worry about. The rest of the problems will be addressed by the spirit. The gulf here is huge and it can be bridged ONLY with the love of God and his precious gift of Salvation. Let us unite towards this noble goal and bring about a true Reformation within our churches which will automatically built up to a wonderful administration of our diocese.

Anonymous said...

Kindly go through the letter addressed to the clergy in this website. Of course, salvation and imitating Jesus in our daily life is the most essential part of all of us. If all the church leaders, soul search themselves and do things in a fair and just manner, there need not be much turmoil in the church.

Jacob Reginald, Munnar said...

Rt. Rev. Dr. George Issac's fall was the result of wrong counsel. He heard and acted the ill advice of people and supported the corrupt treasurer Rev. Dr. Ninan which resulted his fall. He failed to listen to the word of God and act accordingly. He was totally misguided by a mafia among the clergy. He terminated a few B.D. Candidates (a few of them were so dedicated and efficient) after 3 years of service under the advice a few selfish & corrupt senior pastors who are still in Munnar thereby caused a big black mark in his tenure. A Bishop or Church leader should not be guided by vested interests.

jeevanand john,calicut said...

Every thing was for money. eat money-breathe money- blood was not circulating in the vessels. only the money and power.They believed the coins and not Jesus and Bible.
This was the major reason behind the fall.Nothing more than it.

Clifford said...

I have a suggestion. we should stop paying salary to vicars.instead, they can have certain % of income coming in church they are appointed.

if things are in this way, they will work good and make sure all the members are coming in church and for sure, they will bring other too in church. CAN TRY THIS.

PRATHEEKSHA,PALAKKAD said...

Dear Brothers in Christ,We are a small prayer group from palakkad.We never expected that the problems in our diocese are too severe.
We were upholding the sincere workers behind the strike against the problem creators in our prayers.
We now request all church members to form a small prayer group in all churches as prayer is the strongest weapon against the evil forces.
We are continuing our prayers and wait for the wonders.

Jacob Reginald, Munnar said...

We appreciate the brothers and sisters who have been sincerely praying for the various problems which our CSI is facing especially our North Kerala Diocese. What has happened now is no doubt answer to our prayers besides the hard work done by the brother and sisters under the banner of North Kerala Laity Fellowship. Jesus was praying for the whole world for hours together and on the whole night etc. But at the same time, he rebuked the people in strong words and as a last resort he took whip and chased them who defiled the church which was supposed to be the house of prayers. So, pray and act.

csipassputhiyararealface said...

who ever wants to support violence will take up the example of Jesus took whip in hand....... but they won't say Jesus was the son of a carpenter and he was crucified, here everyone want to crucify others for their own benefits, and abuse them on cross if they don't died within 3 days...

Jacob Reginald, Munnar said...

Dear CSIpassputhirararealface, violence, vengeance and abuse are now a days the key words of a few Bishops and pastors. We believers forgive each other and they never forgive. We want to build others but they want to destroy others and institutions. They are supposed to bless every one but they curse the believers from the pulpit. They misuse the pulpit and freeing speak lies from the pulpit. As far as I know, none of the people who are in this initiative to drive away the evil doers from the diocese, profess and practice violence. In spite of having lot of provocations in the form of illegal dismissal from memberships and victimization etc. etc. members like me have shown lot of restraint that you people should appreciate. Our fight is not against any individuals. Please avoid fighting with each other but let us build each other there by the church.

shantha,shoranur said...

All in NORTH KERALA DIOCESE ARE EAGERLY WAITING FOR THE ACTIONS FROM THE SYNOD.
Hope that the synod will take suitable action against the bishop

Anonymous said...

Politics, corruption and hypocrisy has become the norm in CSI churches apparently. Recently, in a CSI church in the Coimbatore diocese the pastor listened to a committee member discounting a church family that has been a member of this church for three generations and refused to hold the wedding of the son in the family.The important point that the pastor was aware of or not is this committee member has a personal feud with this family. Two members of this family has already joined the Catholic church and this boy too might very soon follow them.
While the CSI church is loosing its members, other churches seem to be gaining them.

Anonymous said...

Politics and hypocrisy seems to be the norm at most CSI churches apparently. Pastors seem to give more importance to their favorite committee member's personal agendas than consider the entire church as one family and promote spiritual well being. Recently a pastor from the Coimbatore Diocese refused to hold the wedding of a boy from a family that has been this church's members for three generations. The pastor listened to a committee member who discounted this family. I'm not sure if this pastor was aware that this particular committee member has a feud with this family. Now the boy is so fed up with the entire drama that the pastor and committee member has played out that he is planning to join the Catholic church.

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