Dashain is a great time for devotees of the Lord Shri Jesus Christ! This is a wonderful opportunity for us to worship the Holy Spirit. Together with all our Nepali and Bhutanese friends and family, we can use the rich symbols and traditions of Dashain to express our faith, honor our families, and celebrate Nepali culture. There are many symbols and traditions in Dashain. Two of the most important are called “tika” and “jamera.” Beginning on the day of “Bijaya Dashami” tika and jamera are used to show love and blessing to family and close friends.
Followers of Jesus should feel confident to use these symbols also. First, all these things were created by God for His glory. Second, the red tika reminds us of the blood of the Lord Shri Jesus that provides our salvation. The rice in the tika reminds us of the seed of faith that we have in Christ. Finally, the jamera reminds us of the Holy Spirit’s work to help us grow. Together, these symbols provide a powerful reminder of the victory that we have through TriEak Parmeshwar. So, we can say with joy, “Bijaya Dashami!”
दशैं येशु भक्तहरुको लागि एकदम राम्रो समय हो । यो पवित्र आत्मलाई पूजा गर्नुको निम्ती मङ्गल बेला हो । सबै नेपाली-भुटानिहरुसंग हामिले दशैंको चिन्नहरु र संस्कृतिद्वरा हाम्रा विश्वास प्रमाण् दिनु र हाम्रा परिवार्हरुलाई मान्नु सकौं । दुइटा ठुलो चिन्नहरु टिका र जमरा हुन् । बिजय दशमिदेखी मनिसहरुले टिका-जमरा परिवार र नजिक साथिहरुलाई आशिष दिनु प्रयोग गर्छन् ।
येशु भक्तहरुले पनि यि चिन्नहरु प्रयोग गर्नसक्छन् । पैले, त्रीएक परमेश्वरले सबै थोक उहाँका महिमको निम्ती सृष्टि गर्नुभयो । दोस्त्रो, रातो टिकाले प्रभु श्री येशुको रगतले हामिलाई सम्झाउछ । यो रगतद्वरा हाम्रो मुक्ती आउँछ । टिकाको चामल विश्वासको बिउजस्तो छ । यो विश्वासको बिउदेखी मुक्ती आउँछ । र, जमराले पवित्र आत्मको काम हामीलाई सम्झाउछ । उहाँले हाम्रा जीवनमा आफ्न फल उब्जाउनुहुन्छ । जम्मा, यि चिन्नहरु हाम्रो परमेश्वरको विजय एकदम शक्तिशाली सम्झौटो हो । साँच्चै, हामीले भन्दछैं, "बिजय दशमि!"
Have you ever spent time in Nepal? I'm questioning that because you said nothing in this post about the biggest part of Dashain, when they make blood sacrifices. You can walk about Kathmandu and see the heads cut off of water buffalos, goats and whatnot. Pools of blood everywhere. It is difficult to find a more demonic time in Nepal than at Dashain. Of course, we can use it. We can point at the blood sacrifices they are making and explain that this is no longer necessary because Jesus has been once and all sacrifices for our sins. But we should never participate in it. We are not permitted to go to the Lord's table and to the table of demons. "The things which the Gentiles sacrifice they sacrifice to demons and not to God, and I do not want you to have fellowship with demons." (1Cor. 10:21) Also, it is quite unwise to assure your readers that it is okay for them to particpate in receiving the tika "blessing". Don't you realize that many of the times throughout the year when Nepali people give tika and bless they put the tika on your forehead and bless you in the name of other gods. Personally, I don't want to be "blessed" in the name of a false god. I don't want people I know to be "blessed" in the name of a god invented by the devil. I don't want to be blessed in the name of the devil either. Would you be content to have someone put a tika on your forehead and say to you "May Satan bless you and keep you..."? I seriously doubt it. Well, that is little different than many of the "blessings" your readers will receive if they follow your advice and let Nepali Hindus put tika on them throughout the year.ReplyDelete
Brother Triston, what, in your view, is the relevance of the blood sacrifices performed in KMD to the understanding and traditions of Bhutanese Lhotshampas who, by and large, have never been there and do not emulate them? Moreover, what is their relevance to Nepalis in diaspora who no longer observe them? It is a mistake to presume that the Bhutanese (or even diasporic Nepalis) derive their understanding of such things from what happens in KMD, or that such understanding is fixed and immovable.ReplyDelete
In what I have written above, where do you observe that I have talked about receiving blessings in the name of Satan? I have spoken about worshipping the Holy Spirit. I have talked about the sacrifice of the Lord Jesus. I have praised the Triune God for the victory we have in him. I don’t see anything about Satan, demons, or false gods. You assume an enormous amount instead of actually responding to the content written. Such an approach is difficult to know how to respond to.
It appears that you struggle with a fundamental misapprehension of what contextualization actually is and the role that it plays in ministries like my own. Thus, you have not successfully grasped what is going on in the post above. I would point you to another post of mine which introduces the topic of “possessio” as it relates to contextualization and worship.
At Dashain they celebrate for the first nine days with worship every day. On the eighth and ninth days they make blood sacrifices, mainly to the goddess Durga and some other gods as well (Jaya’s family focus their worship and sacrifices on Durga). On the final day of Vijaya Dashami (victory of 10 days) that is the day they put Tika on peoples’ foreheads, and jumera (a green thing put on their head, also for blessing). And the blessing is always given by the older to the younger. Money and food is given as well. The sacrificed animal is also given and eaten (an animal also sacrificed to a god). But the important point I want to point out, related to your article, is that many things are said over the person receiving the tika, such as: rog le na sataaos; tulo manchhe baias, etc (that no sickness come upon them; that they grow to be an educated important person, that sort of thing, etc. Many good things, indeed blessings are said over them. However, these blessings are said in the name of Durga and other gods.ReplyDelete
After the 10 days, there is 5 additional days when you can go to your more distant relatives too and even to friends’ houses. And they also feed you and give the tika “blessing”. Again these blessings are said in the name of Durga and other gods.
That is the facts in the matter. My wife confirms this as well. Her own family does these very things. Further, the fact is that many of your readers will listen to your suggestion and allow Nepali\Bhutanese people to “bless” them with the tika (even though most of your readers will not understand Nepali language and have no idea what blessing they are receiving. They will not realize when the blessing upon them is said in the name of Durga and other gods). This is what happens. I felt obligated to let your readers know that it is very likely that when they receive a blessing from their Nepali and Bhutanese friends, the blessing will be made in the name of Durga and other false gods. That is the truth. It’s the fact of what happens at Dashain. Of course, what you said is good (in that you talk about worshipping the Holy Spirt, and the sacrifice of the Lord Jesus. All this is fine). But you recommend your readers to receive the tika from their Nepali and Bhutanese Hindu friends. Those Hindu friends will not be giving the tika in the name of the Holy Spirit, nor will it have anything to do with the sacrifice of the Holy Spirit.
Any how, I am really not interested in interacting with you any longer on these things brother Cody. Though we are both believers in Jesus (I have no doubt about that. You are my brother in Christ). We also both come at these things from worlds apart and will never agree. Our discussion on these matters will ever end in disagreement.
Once again, the KMD-experience/practice is not necessarily that of the Bhutanese-refugee. You assume something that you should not. The Bhutanese are different from Nepalese from KMD-valley in a vast many ways. For example, for 20ish years, they were not allowed to perform animal sacrifices in the camps during Dashain (actually, it likely fell somewhat into disuse during the few hundreds years of living in Bhutan- that would be a good research question). Point being, while the external practice of tika/jamera may appear similar to what you've seen, to understand the meaning held by the practitioner always requires careful, full-context, strategic listening.Delete
One must come to understand what is non-negotiable about Dashain for the Bhutanese. Is it blood sacrifices? No, as this is no longer practiced among the Bhutanese (or among most Diaspora Nepalis). Is it a trip to the Mandir or performing Durga pooja? Also no, as mandirs in the US are dominated by Indians and thus not as appealing to the Bhutanese. Actually, the dynamics of forced migration actually work as a filter for such things. With limits of finance, time, a new culture, etc – such cultural phenomena as a festival or life cycle ritual get sifted - what remains is the absolute core, why the thing really exists. For the Bhutanese, Dashain is about the giving of blessings by elders to youngers as symbolized by the tika/jamera/money ceremony. This is the commendable core and the place where contextualization begins. From there we pursue contextualization as “possessio” just as our ancestors did with the development of our Christmas. What we have discovered is that as our friends find us to be a partner in protecting this core and hear us proclaiming that Jesus affirms this core, many of them are drawn to a broader understanding of Christ’s message. They also become open to the re-imagining of Dashain that we have presented which focuses on the fruit of the Holy Spirit and victory of Christ. So that in our community, it is now it is far more likely that one will receive blessings in the name of Jesus during Dashain than in the name of any other god. On the flip-side, if we oppose Dashain because of the peripheral items (words of blessing, poojas to idols, etc) it will not be understood as a rejection of the periphery but as a rejection of the core.Delete
Regarding that, however, we must not read such practices from too Western a perspective. We might be tempted to observe a tika/jamera ceremony and focus in on whatever words are said. After all, as Americans, we concentrate meaning in words – we are low-context communicators. For the Bhutanese, however, meaning is not primarily in the words. The very, very few people who still offer a traditionally-styled Nepali blessing don’t often consider or even seem to be aware of the meaning. If you ask them the meaning of the ceremony, they will almost never refer to the words. If you ask them the meaning of the words, they will usually simply not know or either boil it down to a simple, “It is giving blessing.” For high-context communicators, meaning is concentrated elsewhere. Hence, it hasn’t proven very difficult to convince people to change the words if they know that we support them at the core. We have written a simple, blessing based upon the fruit of the Spirit that people enjoy.Delete
Regarding whatever confusion might possibly be generated by this post, I suppose there is always the possibility that someone will take something in the wrong way. I cannot operate in such fear. The consistent tenor of this blog is to invite people to be critical thinkers and reflective practitioners of mission among diasporas. Moreover, this particular post doesn’t stand alone. It is a part of a series of daily devotionals/prayer prompts that ran on this blog last year during Navaratri and Dashain. This can easily be seen simply by clicking the “dashain” tag provided. However, I suppose, worst-case scenario – a well-meaning Christian goes to a house and receives a blessing in the name of Durga. Only two options exist, either they received it unknowingly or knowingly. If the latter, well, the ball is in their own court and they have been given nothing from this blog to support the notion that blessing and honor, glory and power belong to anyone other than the one, Triune God revealed in the Bible as Father, Son and Holy Spirit. If unknowingly they receive such a blessing, I’m not exactly sure what the problem would be. Satan is not capable of usurping the Lord Jesus from the throne of our hearts nor to somehow quench the power of the Holy Spirit via the force of some incantation. Nor would it be sin to unknowingly receive a blessing given in the name of another god.Delete
Cody wrote: “One must come to understand what is non-negotiable about Dashain for the Bhutanese. Is it blood sacrifices? No, as this is no longer practiced among the Bhutanese (or among most Diaspora Nepalis). Is it a trip to the Mandir or performing Durga pooja? Also no, as mandirs in the US are dominated by Indians and thus not as appealing to the Bhutanese.”Delete
Cody, are you saying you would permit Bhutanese to do pooja (i.e. worship) of the goddess Durga if they desired to do so?? And/or would you also permit them to go to a mandir (Hindu temple) to do pooja if they wanted to? Again this is extremely disturbing, so please be clear on this point, so there is no misunderstanding.
What you were quite clear about is that you think it is okay for some Christians to receive a blessing in the name of the goddess Durga knowingly, since the Christian of course knows that blessing and power, glory and honor belong to the true God alone. You are off your rocker. What part of the Apostle Paul’s words do you not understand: “But if anyone says to you, ‘This was offered to idols,’ do not eat it”?? (1Cor. 10:28) Paul could have (and certainly would have) as easily said, If someone tries to bless you in the name of a false god, do not receive it.
Cody's over-the-top approach I honestly see as the definition of syncretism. Your post here is only a small symptom of a big problem. There are some very dangerous things being taught by you at your blog on these matters. Things that should not be taught. I'm amazed that the SBC refuses to allow people who have ever been divorced to be missionaries or anyone who has ever spoken in tongues to be missionaries, and yet they embrace your syncretistic approach to missions? You don't see it that way, but that is what it is. I am genuinely fearful for the future. 60,000+ Nepali\Bhutanese people are arriving in America. Is a marriage of Hinduism&Christianity the approach that the SBC will use to reach them? Of course, you will be very successful with numbers and maybe nowadays the SBC mainly only looks at numbers for success. We could reach the whole Hindu world if we merely told Hindus to make Jesus another one of their gods. You aren't going that far. Yet, I can think of a few people in my own Nepali\Bhutanese congregation whose faith would be utterly devastated by your approach. People who have one foot in Hinduism and one in Christianity, and God willing, who will finally hold firm only to Christ. But that would never happen if they are reassured that they need not give up their Hindu practices. You will be successful. But it is a success (I think anyway) on par with people like Joel Osteen, who can fill up a stadium, not because of the content of his message but because people don’t need to change their lives to be comfortable under his teaching. The Hindus would come to our church in droves if we followed your approach, rather than resisting as so many of them do, because they would feel little need to change. Just use the name Jesus rather than Ram, Khrisna, Durga and other gods in their Hindu worship. Your approach will get numbers but in my opinion it is very harmful. And the entire Nepali church is on my side. You stand alone. You are going way too far. I'm not merely referring only to this post, but rather your general approach. Also, you keep writing to everyone it seems as a teacher, but you, brother, are the one who honestly needs to be taught. I'm not trying to be everyone's teacher here. I am simply a man saved by the grace of Christ who loves Jesus and loves Nepali people, and I've devoted the last 15 years of my life to reaching Nepali people with the Gospel of Jesus Christ. I am confident that you, Cody, also have good intentions and desire to bring them to Jesus, too. But I am convinced that your extreme approach will do far more harm than good.
My advice to anyone who loves Nepali people and desires for them to come to know and follow Jesus Christ is to avoid Cody’s extreme and syncretistic approach.
Well, brother, you certainly aren’t pulling any punches. I am having trouble understanding how you are so dramatically mis-understanding my statements. You have asked if I would “permit” Bhutanese people to do Durja-pooja, go to mandir, etc. First off, I’m certain it is not up to me to “permit” them one way or another. If you are asking if I teach that Jesus is the unique son of God, that salvation is found only in him, and that He alone is worthy to receive worship, then my answer is an unequivocal yes. If you are asking if I would exercise my authority as a pastor to discipline professing Christ-followers who fail in this area, then again, my answer is yes. But, this much should be more than obvious to any unbiased observer of my ministry, published works, or this blog. In fact, any one of the non-Christians in our local Bhutanese community would testify that this is true.Delete
You have further stated that I think it is okay “for some Christians to receive a blessing in the name of goddess Durga knowingly”. You said that this is “quite clear”. Perhaps I truly am off my rocker because I am simply baffled by this statement. What I have actually said is that if a Christian knowingly receives tika/jamera in the name of another god then “well, the ball is in their own court and they have been given nothing from this blog to support the notion that blessing and honor, glory and power belong to anyone other than the one, Triune God revealed in the Bible as Father, Son and Holy Spirit.” I clearly do not believe followers of Jesus should seek the blessings of other gods/spirits. Why then are you misconstruing my words so radically? I appreciate the quoting of 1 Corinthians 10:28. I believe it, of course, and have lived it.
You have charged me now publicly with practicing things that are satanic and syncretistic. Clearly, I am a false teacher in your view. Now you have claimed that I have engaged in the very definition of syncretism. However, it is altogether unclear as to what you believe syncretism actually is. You have said that I am teaching dangerous things but you have failed to articulate what is actually dangerous about them. Clearly it has nothing at all to do with doctrine as I affirm and teach everything that is consistent with the historic essentials of the Christian faith. We have not compromised one iota on these matters but we have unapologetically compromised from the standard approach of the Nepali Christian Church. In doing so, we have do nothing to malign the Westernized style of most Nepali-speaking churches. We affirm their Biblical freedom in these matters. It seems also that you have suggested that ministry is essentially saying that we are holding up Jesus as simply a god to be added to some pantheon of deities. To be sure, you have said that I don’t “go that far”, but the implication is that I’m on the way. This is utterly false. You speak of what you couldn’t possibly be in a position to know as you are not walking in my shoes, no nothing of our work first-hand, and have never been to one of our worship services. Certainly you have not been able to show where I have taught anything like this on my blog. If I am wrong, show me where I have taught that there is some other way to salvation than through Jesus Christ alone? Show me where I have advocated for putting Christ on a par with other gods? Show me where I have not affirmed His uniqueness? Indeed a week does not go by in our Nepali Yeshu Satsang where we do not recite both Acts 4:12 and Colossians 1:15-20 in at least two languages. No, I am confident that you cannot show any place where I have taught false doctrine or otherwise blasphemed the name of Christ. What is more, in your claim that “the entire Nepali church” is on your side you have both presumed to speak for a group of people that have not empowered you to do so and further deemed that those Nepali Christians who don’t agree with your assessment are thereby not Christians – not a part of the “entire Nepali church”. This will be surprising news to a number of very prominent Nepali Christian leaders who indeed have shown both verbal and practical support for our ministry (albeit some of them have done so privately because they fear a backlash from other Nepali Christian leaders or the loss of funding from American partners). It will also be news to those new believers in our context who have come to trust in Christ alone for salvation and are following him with boldness and honor. In light of this all, I must again point out to you, in sincere respect for you as a man of God and brother, that such slander as what you have engaged in is sinful and must be repented of. Even in this latest comment you seem to have abandoned any attempt to be respectful in your disagreement.Delete
Finally, you have said that I “keep writing to everyone it seems as a teacher”. What exactly does that mean? I assume you are further accusing me of some kind of an inappropriate prideful spirit. If so, I find such a comment as quite out of place. I have earnestly sought to treat everyone with respect and hear and respond to what they are saying as completely as time and the format will allow. This is more than I can say for you given that you have now resulted to a kind of personal attack and have given up any attempts at cordiality. So, what precisely have you found amiss about my conversation style? Is it wrong to defend my position when it is assailed? Is it wrong to cite or reference outside sources or to provide links to other articles I have written? Have you detected some kind of ineffable air hubris in my tone? Brother, I am a teacher. I have invested quite a lot in all this and a massive personal expense. I have written and been published and worked things out in the refinery of the mission field for a few years myself. To be sure, it is a work in progress. But I am committed to using whatever opportunity the Lord affords me to share what I’ve learned and I have been grateful to see more and more of these doors open.Delete
Now, all that in mind, I am very honestly grateful for your voice of disagreement. I have no interest in censoring your comments. Again, I believe you have made some unfortunate errors in the way you have approached this debate that are unbecoming to you as a man of God. But, I have every confidence that you will recognize these and take the appropriate steps. On substance however, I don’t lose any sleep knowing that we disagree intensely on this critical issue. I bless you in the holy and matchless name of Jesus Christ and wish you well. And I pray for us both that the Spirit of Truth will continue to lead us into all truth until the day of Christ Jesus when our “through-the-glass-dimly” missiology will give way to knowing fully even as we are fully known.
Just a final note that I'd be happy to suspend our conversation for the time being. That only because I need to get some work done and I have been burning a lot of hours on this discussion. It has been more than worthwhile, but nevertheless other responsibilities beckon.Delete
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Cody, I can show you from your above article on Dashain what I accuse you of: First, it comes across as extremely deceptive. Maybe you just haven't written with clarity. But the average believer may well come away (perhaps misunderstanding what you meant) and say to themselves: "Wow. I had no idea that Nepali Hindus put on the red tika to acknowledge the sacrifice of Jesus Christ. I also should put on the tika to show my agreement with them that Jesus has been sacrificed for us." And all the while the Hindu is actually putting the tika on the Christian's forehead in the name of a false god. The Christian rejoices with Hindu, thinking it is about Jesus. The Hindu rejoices with the Christian, thinking the Christian is joyously acknowledging the power of his Hindu god to bless. All this could happen, and may already have happened, by your article. I'm not saying it was your intent to deceive, but it is deceptive and could be easily misunderstood. My second accusation of you from the above article comes at the end of the article, where you write, “So, we can say with joy, “Bijaya Dashami!” Cody, what you are actually encouraging us to joyfully declare is: “Victory to the goddess Durga!” THAT IS WHAT IT MEANS! THAT IS HOW IT IS UNDERSTOOD. That is what I accuse you of teaching unwittingly. And this is just one example. You've written a lot, a lot that needs to be opposed. I am not saying that is your intent. But that is what you are teaching, albeit unwittingly. That is what you are guilty of and need to repent of and why you should not be teaching on these matters. I also accuse you of not taking the Holy Spirit's leading of the Nepali church seriously enough. Instead of learning by how God has worked among them, you have basically cast it outside. Furthermore, what is to prevent "caste" from dominating in your church with your warm acceptance Hindu culture? I've never accused you of your heart's intent. I have no doubt you are my brother in the Lord. I have no doubt that you genuinely desire for Nepali\Bhutanese people to know and follow Jesus. I have no doubt that God has used you to bring people to faith. But your approach is syncretistic and needs to be opposed.Delete
So, I understand that you are accusing me of “coming across as extremely deceptive”. However, in the very brief article above, I have said nothing that can be shown to be false. I cannot control how I may “come across”, especially to those who don’t pay good attention to what has been written. If you will look more closely, you will note that I have spoken about Dashain “for devotees of the Lord Shri Jesus Christ”. That is a time for “us” to worship the Holy Spirit and that we “can use” the symbols and traditions already there in this process. My two very simple justifications are (1) that these elements (i.e. tika/jamera) are created by God for His glory and (2) they can indeed serve as reminders of certain Biblical truths. I have said that in the context of our friends and family we can use the season and it’s traditions to “express our faith”. You may argue that a follower of Jesus cannot do this – i.e. that I am wrong. But you do not have any justification for accusing me of lying.Delete
And then briefly, “Bijaya Dashami” means nothing even in the ballpark of “victory of the goddess Durga”. I do not understand why you have translated it thus. It means “victorious tenth day” (bijaya = victory, dashami = tenth day). There is simply no other way to translate it. Indeed there are two “dashamis” in every month of the traditional Nepali calendar referring to the tenth day of the lunar fortnight.
I’m not sure exactly how I have dismissed the Spirit’s leading of the Nepali church? That’s a new one. Our prayers and blessings are with the Nepali church and we have engaged in much partnership with a number of prominent leaders. Indeed we have ongoing partnerships with the Nepali Church that are even now benefiting a large number of churches. Remember that I have not attacked the Nepali Church’s standard approach to worship, nor have I discounted anyone’s testimony. I don’t think disagreement with a brother is the same thing as casting him aside.
And regarding caste, our track record speaks as a very powerful testimony to the Spirit’s work in our midst. We have people from every caste not only in our church but also in our leadership. Caste discrimination community-wide among us is far less common than in the many other communities I have visited. We have never hesitated to condemn such discrimination as against God and I have preached numerous sermons to that effect.
Well, there may be no end to your assails against our work, brother. I’m not sure I’ll have the time to answer them one by one. Given that you do not acknowledge my answers or give evidence of paying careful attention to what I write in all of its nuances, I’m not sure what would be the point. Beyond that, at a certain point, no one else is reading this far down the comment thread. So, the benefit for the larger community maybe a bit lost.
So, I would suggest a couple tracts. Option 1: In reference to my previous posts pointing out what was clearly sinful in your commenting and baseless accusations, you can publically repent. From there we can simply agree to disagree on these matters and ask the Lord to give us wisdom and unity going forward. Option 2: Failing repentance, I believe that you have a clear responsibility before the Lord to alert those in the Church over me of my “satanic” and heretical activities. After all, I actually wield a considerable amount of authority and influence and am a frequent conference speaker, trainer and author. If I am “unwittingly” a false teacher, it seems incumbent upon you to make every effort to remove me from office. I would gladly invite you to do this by contacting my supervisors within the Southern Baptist Convention and in the Lausanne Movement’s Global Diaspora Network. I do not wish to give their contact information publicly, but would be happy to do so via email. You may request these by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org
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[Litl-Luther, I have removed your comment in order to edit out the names of field personnel who might be put at risk with this level of exposure. Please refrain from sharing names or contact information of people other than yourself who are currently serving in limited access area. Below is the edited version of your comment.]Delete
FROM LITL-LUTHER - "Just a brief comment. I don't want to address everything now. You will recall I tried to stop the interaction on these topics near the beginning of our discussion. You wrote: "And then briefly, “Bijaya Dashami” means nothing even in the ballpark of “victory of the goddess Durga”. I do not understand why you have translated it thus. It means “victorious tenth day” (bijaya = victory, dashami = tenth day)." You don't understand, Cody. You are right about that. And that's the problem. I happen to be fluent in Nepali language too, and so I can agree with you on the translation of the words. But you don't understand what leads up to them saying these words. What do you think happens in the 10 days of worship leading up to this 10th day of victory? Who's victory are the celebrating? They are celebrating Durga's victory, and that is why they rejoice on the 10th day with those words. Nepali pastors will warn the believers saying "When your Hindu friends say to you 'Bijaya Dashami' do not reply back to them 'same to you'. Do not in any way share in this cursed celebration of goddess durga." Yet, you encourage people to rejoice in it. And you don't understand. That is the problem. I would like to contact your supervisors at NAMB, not to listen to me, but just to ask them: Talk to any of the ***** missionaries working with ****** in Nepal, and see how they feel about what Cody is teaching. Contact any Nepali leadership in the church in Nepal and see if they don't opposed what Cody is teaching. Contact virtually any missionary who has spent years in Nepal and see if they don't oppose Cody. I don't want them to take my word for it. Let them contact ************** for instance who served as the country field leader of **************** for **** years in Nepal and see what he thinks of Cody's teaching. Contact ************* and ******* missionary in the ************************* serving in Nepal and see what he thinks of Cody's teaching. Contact any Christian I have known in the Nepal for the past 15 years and see how much opposition there will be to Cody's teaching. That's what I would like to see happen. The opposition will be so great against what you are doing, especially by those who have served Christ for years in Nepal. But you are showing yourself to be unteachable in these matters."
Thanks again for your comments. I have shared with you the information you requested by email. My lot is in God's hands (Ps. 16).
Litl-Luther, would you agree that someone who says “Season’s greetings” in the second half of December is certainly worshipping Jesus? As with Durga and “Bijaya Dashami,” there is no explicit reference to Jesus with “season’s greetings.” However, there are a significant number of people who celebrate a festival honoring Jesus during that time, just as there are a significant number of people who are trying to honor Durga during Dashain. According to my understanding of the reasoning you gave regarding “Bijaya Dashami,” then, saying “season’s greetings” is in fact honoring Jesus and/or can be viewed by Christians and the general public as honoring Jesus.Delete
It is in God's hands, brother Cody. As you know, I did respond to the email addresses of your leadership that you provided. My only hope is that they would contact missionaries in Nepal on this matter and receive their wise input. Not to remove you but to restore.Delete
Every blessing in Christ.
I meant to say "...nor will it have anything to do with the sacrifice of Jesus Christ" A dumb oversight on my part. I should have read it more closely before posting.ReplyDelete
Litl-Luther, What I see is that you don't understand what contextualization is all about. Contextualization is trying to present Gospel in a manner that can be understood by people using symbols that they are familiar with.ReplyDelete
So what you need to understand is symbols are taken and through them Christ is presented.
For example Paul took the symbol of unknown god in Acts 17:23 and presented gospel through it.
Acts 17:23 "for as I was passing through and considering the objects of your worship, I even found an altar with this inscription: TO THE UNKNOWN GOD. Therefore, the One whom you worship without knowing, Him I proclaim to you:
If you say Paul was equating Jesus with "Unknown god" of Athenians or somehow degrading Jesus to their deity's level then, you are mistaken. Same thing it is here. I don't see in Cody's post anywhere that he is crossing the line. He is not asking people to do what you think.
These are complex issues and there will be no easy solutions. It is quite standard in contextualization disputes that local churches planted by traditional mission approaches are vehemently opposed to new contextual approaches. There are many reasons for this and it does not mean that local church opinions should just be ignored; but neither should they be accepted as the final word. For the struggles and critique of Indian practices in this same area see Living Water and Indian Bowl by Dayanand Bharati (William Carey Library). Note that the Indian edition of this book had a commendatory forward by a Nepali believer.ReplyDelete
I am not going to interact with everyone on this. As I said above, it is in God's hands now. I have contacted Cody's leadership as he suggested. If you desire "expert opinion" about what is acceptable in contextualization in the Nepali context, contact Christian missionaries who have served in Nepal for several years. Contact Nepali pastors in Nepal. They can explain to you what is acceptable and what must be avoided.ReplyDelete
I am aware that Christian missionaries who worked from years are opposed to new ideas. That doesn't mean new ideas or new way or presentation is wrong.
Praying for you. While I understand your reaction and sympathize with you, I have seen and can vouch for the fruit of Cody's service on behalf of the Lord among Bhutanese Nepalis. I am certainly not bold enough to do some of what he does but I respect him and trust that he is being faithful in his comission. Jesus and Paul did things that scandalized the religious sensibilities of their time. We can sometimes forget that.
-Ian Smith, missionary in East Asia
One major argument that Cody presents is that it does not really matter what happens in Kathmandu or in the country of Nepal because Bhutanese Hindu culture is different. But that argument is quite insufficient to justify what he is doing and here is why:ReplyDelete
1. The Bhutanese spent 18+ years in refugee camps IN NEPAL. Thus, virtually everyone nearly 30 years old or under know only Nepal. Their whole lives have basically been spent in Nepal.
2. They were not prisoners in the refugee camps. In fact, a large percentage of them left the camps for work for years at a time and were completely entrenched within Nepali Hindu cultural practices.
3. Even the older Bhutanese people we meet—the vast majority in fact—consider Nepal their country, and they consider Nepali cultural practices their cultural practices. They are Nepali through-in-through. And they follow Nepali cultural and religious practices. This is what the majority hold to in our experience.
4. A great number of people who are coming here as Bhutanese refugees are not in fact refugees at all. Many got on the list because their grandmother or grandfather lived in Bhutan; or their mother or father lived in Bhutan. Many never spent a day in Bhutan, nor spent a day in the refugee camps, not until it was decided that the Bhutanese would be granted refugee status. So of these many people, who have come and are coming, are completely Nepali.
5. In my own Bhutanese refugee church where I am a pastor, I can point to no less than 15 people who never lived in the refugee camps; who also never lived in Bhutan, but they had a parent who lived in the refugee camps (and they did not even live with that parent), and that is why they are here today as Bhutanese refugees. Only because of the parent who they never lived with. These 15 people have received Bhutanese refugee status and yet they are 100% Nepalese (not Bhutanese) by culture. This phenomenon is not limited to my church. It is widespread.
6. Moreover, there are also a number of people who have gotten on the refugee role very deceptively: By marrying a Bhutanese person. That is happening. My wife’s own brother was presented with that opportunity to marry a Bhutanese girl for a price. Also, a house keeper in Kathmandu who worked for the mission agency I was with has gotten to America that way. She never spent a day in her life in the camps or in Bhutan, but her husband (who had left her long ago) could get her on the list (and did get her on the list) because he had family from Bhutan. It is a big business at this point. Nepali people can pay to become Bhutanese refugees and many have already done so. And the above is just two personal examples we came across while living in Nepal. Since now that we are working with Bhutanese refugees in the US, we know a great number who know nothing of Bhutan. They were born in Nepal. They were raised in Nepal. Their homes and families are in Nepal. And yet they somehow got themselves on the Bhutanese refugee list.
Therefore, Cody’s argument, where he tries to show justification (regarding Dashain) for what he is doing by downplaying Nepali Hindu culture and trying to argue differences in Bhutanese Hindu culture cannot be substantiated. A very large percentage (the majority we believe) of the Bhutanese refugees here in America follow identical practices to the Nepali Hindus of Nepal.
Again you didn't understand what Cody is doing. You are trying to equate what Cody is doing with what you see in Nepal.
BTW, your wife's name is part of Dashain - Bijaya-Dashmi. I guess you don't consider yourself demonic?
Sorry, just trying to make the point that if you can look at Jaya and figure out that she is not part of demonic because she worships Jesus, then you should be able to figure this also out that Cody is not worshiping anybody other than Jesus.
Vinod, I believe Cody is only worshipping Jesus. I have never accused him of being anything but a genuine brother in Christ who is very misinformed about the Hindu practices he employs. I don't doubt Cody's faith in Christ, nor do I doubt that he desires to bring people to faith in Jesus.ReplyDelete
Litl-Luther, that's interesting. below are your own words in which you accused Bro. Cody as "satanic." So either you think he is genuine or you think he is satanic. You can't have both. You have not showed a single thing he wrote, that would be satanic. Now you say "Cody is only worshiping Jesus." I am really confused, either you believe "Cody is only worshiping Jesus" or you believe "Cody is doing satanic stuff." Tell me one thing, instead of having a 180 degree differing opinions.ReplyDelete
"Brother, someone else will have to address the substance of your article. I don't want to delve into the satanic."
"She made her choice a long time ago to follow Jesus rather than follow any demonic Hindu practices, and nothing will bring her back to those things again."
"Most Nepali Christians have similar testimonies in that they see this stuff you are doing as “choosing Satan” rather than “choosing Christ”."
"That is how they put it. And they do not want to look back at the old demonic ways. I married one of them. For Jaya my wife it is truly a choice between following Christ or following Satan. Jesus does not want her to go back to anything Hindu. He does not."
Fact is Cody didn't do anything Hindu. He took symbols and used them for the glory of Jesus. Exactly like Paul took symbol of "Unknown God" and used it to glorify Jesus.
As far as tilak is concerned, Read Exo 28:36-39 specially verse 38. Priest used to wear it as symbol of bearing iniquity. We are royal priesthood. I don't see any problem wearing symbol of Jesus' blood that was shed for our sins.
Exo 28:38 "So it shall be on Aaron's forehead, that Aaron may bear the iniquity of the holy things which the children of Israel hallow in all their holy gifts; and it shall always be on his forehead, that they may be accepted before the LORD.
It is the Hindu practices that are demonic, not Cody. Cody is merely a believer who is ignorant of the Hindu practices he advocates participation in. You can twist my words and read into them all you want Vinod, but my position has not changed.ReplyDelete
I'm very interested in what Cody's leadership end up saying.
This is a great conversation and I wish I had the time to read through all of you guys comments, but I don't have right now. What I gather from the beginning of this post is that Cody has taken upon himself the job of redeeming one of the most pagan festivals of all time by simply attaching Christ to the blood and Holy Spirit to Jamara. If he succeeds, he might have probably begun a new kind of Christianity with the new kind of symbols, but I doubt if he can easily remove the Cross and the dove. So, for the moment, I will hold back my reaction and come back later when I have the time...ReplyDelete
I didn't twist your words. What Cody is doing is not Hindu practice. What Happens in Nepal is a Hindu practice. Cody is not advocating to participate in any Hindu practice, it is your illusion.
I saw your things on Watchdog facebook n didnt believe. Now I have seen with my own eyes. a modern day cult leader working with Bhutanese people deceiving them. n even God could not teach Cody loranc, only he can be correct. Cody wow, you r doing everything possible to bring satanic Hindu rituals and the demons attached to them into Church. Jesus drove these evils out of Church long ago and you bring all back. Satan, the father of lies must be so proud of your work to deceive. congratulations, you are enemy of Jesus to Nepali Christians. In Jesus' name I rebuke you and the devils work you bring in to Church you enemy of Jesus Christ to Nepali people Cody lorance.ReplyDelete
Who are you to pass judgment on the servant of another? It is before his own master that he stands or falls. And he will be upheld, for the Lord is able to make him stand.Delete
(Rom 14:4 ESV)
Shem, thanks for reading. I am glad that you share my hatred for Satan, may the Lord lead you into greater discernment and control of your Christ-centered passion. I encourage you to read more about possessio contextualization, and let's see if we can't have a more fruitful dialog in the future. Many blessings to you in the victorious and matchless name of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ! Aru kasaima mukti chaina, kinaki hamile mukti paunalai, swargamunni manisharuma arko koonainow deako chaina! (Acts 4:12)Delete
Bible, thank you for reading. You have cited a fitting verse for this conversation. Blessings!
Shem, Jesus didn't drove out demons from temple, He drove out pharisees like you.Delete
@Bible i trying to do what Paul says "now I have written to you not to keep company with anyone named a brother who.....Do not even eat with such a person. For what have I to do with judging those also who are outside? Do you not judge those who are inside [the Church]" 1Cor5.9-13ReplyDelete
@Cody in my heart i do not rebuke any thing Holy Spirit is do in your church. but it must grieve God that you have brought these things in His Church, which He never Had before. do you not believe Holy Spirit directs Nepali church? He direct us to avoid all Hindu things. We have our own Christian Nepali culture as blessed example in earth.
I do hope you teach Acts 4:14 John 14:6 and other showing Jesus is only Savior. Amen if you do. Amen
'a brother who . . .' Who what? Fill the blank please, it might be important.Delete
1 Cor 5:9-13 fits this discussion? Are you kidding me? You don't fit Bible verses the way you like to accuse anybody of anything they are not doing.
I will say check your own life and try to figure out how you use the Word of God. Remember God is not mocked. He will judge for every idle word a person speaks.
Mat 12:36 "But I say to you that for every idle word men may speak, they will give account of it in the day of judgment.
Mat 12:37 "For by your words you will be justified, and by your words you will be condemned."
I think you like Christian Watchdog Nepal ni? Ani kina testai boleko? How can u say that "blessed Nepali Christian culture" and also like that Watchdog. Watchdog is always saying Nepali Christian culture is filled with greed and corruption hoina? So if you quote whole verse of 1Cor 5:11 you will understand your hypocrisy. "tara yastaako sangat nagarnu bhanera maile timiharulai lekhe, jasale aaphailai biswasi bhai huun bhani bhanchha, tara baastawamaa jo byabhichaari, ba lobhi, ba murtipujak, ba nindaa garne, ba matawaalaa ba lutaahaa ho. tyasto maanisanga ta khana pani nabas."ReplyDelete
So did u stop to eat with all the lobhi nepali pastor that Watchdog criticize? kripaya, hamro dharmashastrako bareema amithya nabhannuhos, la.
no. u r wrong I not member of watchdog nepal group. but I saw there sinful Hindu rituals done by Cody and came to see here with my own eyes.ReplyDelete
Though Cody and I are obviously world's apart on the use of Hindu practices, I do have great respect for him. I do indeed believe Cody's heart is in the right place. He wants Nepali people to come to know Jesus Christ. Amen. I sincerely believe that about Cody. (I want the same thing. I hope you can accept that about me.) I have never had doubts about Cody's faith in Christ or his heart's intent or motive in all he is doing.ReplyDelete
Appreciate this gracious comment, brother. Blessings to you moving forward!Delete
For others, we have exhausted this thread, I believe. I will thus be closing it for further comments. You are welcome to engage missiological topics on my other posts. Blessings!