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Naga Cultural Team at Kumbha Mela Seen as a "Window of Opportunity for Evangelism"


on 2019/2/9 12:30:00 ( 581 reads )

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NAGALAND, NORTHEAST INDIA, January 17, 2019 (Nagaland Post, editorial): The world's largest religious festival, the Kumbh Mela, has began in Prayagraj. It has been celebrated over the centuries for the Hindus pilgrimage but we Nagas were never attracted by this event until very recently. Our local newspapers have reported that about 373 people from Nagaland, probably of the Naga Christian majority, are participating in 2019 Kumbh Mela festival in Allahabad between January 22 and 24. It was informed that these selected Naga delegates will showcase the Naga cultural heritage in Kumbh Mela during festivals under the initiative of Sanskar Bharati Nagaland (SBN) , and financially sponsored by the Ministry of Culture. The central and UP government has even constructed a simulated Naga "Morung" (a training house for youth) in the venue to represent Naga culture at Kumbh Mela.

This news has ignited many questions among the leaders of the church and also in the minds of the people in Nagaland. What does Kumbh Mela has to do with the Christian Nagas? I wish that the state leadership should also have shown their Christian stance clear by saying "No" to this kind of invitation. But apart from this fear factor or Naga Christian defensive attitude, is there any other way that we can convert this crisis into opportunity for the Lord?

I believe that Naga "Christians" representing in Kumbh Mela as a cultural troupe has opened a door of opportunity for evangelism, if the participants are "intentional "in this aspect. Had the troupe not purposefully been selected to be a Hindu or Heraka (an indigenous movement, see https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Haipou_Jadonang) team from Nagaland, I am sure more than 90 percent of the 373 team members will be Christians. The core of Christian faith is mission and evangelism, to spread the gospel of Jesus Christ, especially to the unbelievers. I pray that at least 100 out of 373 members do this "intentional evangelism," exploring opportunity to share the gospel, along with the exhibition of the Naga culture in Kumbh Mela.

Some may ask what Kumbh Mela has to do with evangelism? It is a cultural troupe, not a gospel team. Yes, Nagas are going to showcase their cultural heritage at the Kumbh Mela Morung. But can an official church gospel team get permission to enter Kumbh Mela for preaching and to do evangelism? It will be foolish to do so. However, a big Naga team, majority are practicing Christians, was already invited by the organizer and financially sponsored by them, and are on the way to the venue. This would be like entering communist China with bibles during the time of rescue operation, or lay missionaries entering Kathmandu, Nepal for rescued operation work caused by the great earthquake in 2015. Indeed, in every believer's life, gospel and culture go together.

more at: http://www.nagalandpost.com/kumbh-mel ... or-evangelism/188791.html

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