Some true and uncomfortable questions ..
Are we having the right people to lead the Malankara Orthodox Church into the new century ?? This is a very pertinent question being raised by all sensible and concerned people in the church today, across ages, geographies and timezones. With the goings on in our sister churches, it is all the more important that we choose the right educated people to lead us into the future, lest we fall into the same morass which befell them.
I know I will be cold shouldered here because of many vested interests .. But still I should not have the guilt when my grandchildren ask me, why I never tried my level best to save the Malankara Orthodox church from the vultures .. We cannot forget the simple fact that the Malankara Orthodox church has a great following of 35 lakh believers from the middle class and upper middle class of Indian society.
To increase the level of confidence of the believers in the church, we need to do some basic exercises aimed at improving the transparency of administration.
Point 1: Will the Sabha Managing committee or the church take the initiative to come out with the assets and educational qualifications of the Malankara Sabha Managing Commmittee members ?
It will be a great service to the believers of the Malankara Orthodox church and will be a bold exe rcise in openness of the church and its laity..
Point 2 : There are a lot of questions being asked whether private vested interests are ruling over common societal interests. Among the youngsters this is a bit muted now but will morph into a roar at the right time, by when things may go out of control.
Point 3: We need to introspect, are we really going after building the church in its purest sense, serving the poor or as is the rest of the world, swimming with the tide and make as much physical assets and bank deposits, make hay while the sun shines, black or white, as time permits. I know of a very prosperous Orthodox church in central Kerala, where about Rs 50 lakhs, collection from the believers, was just floating for meeting daily expenses without either being put in a fixed deposit or dispensed to the needy... They have sumptuous lunch and breakfast on important church festival days and kanji/gruel on lent days, but no help for the needy community .. Where are we heading to ?
Point 4 : There are many instances where church money has been squandered away by some smart contractors / priests, putting up a pious face with the High priests and buttering them. Do we have enough of checks and balances to ensure that such events do not recur and church funds are not misused ..?
Are we after real estate as the Catholic church did and is now facing charges of paedophile priests and what not .. ?
Point 5 :When we go back for the final appraisal of our acts of commission and omission in front of God, will these acts of acquiring real estate and bank deposits find a special mention?? as do acts of kindness and piety at helping the less-fortunate members of our society, irrespective of caste, colour, creed or belief ..
There are believers and a small minority of priests who are pained at these recent developments, but they have been silenced or prefer silence to action as the vested interests are a strong mafia which even the Priests cannot fathom or act against.
Point 6 : It is highly possible that no action will come out of this concern expressed by a small believer sitting in some part of the country, because the rot is so deep. But if this can stir the conscience and minds of some of the believers and permit a level of decency, self-discipline, spirit of questioning and self control in the church and its leaders, that will be a great success indeed ...
It is a matter of great pride that our Treasurer from Laity, Muthootu George is the new entrant to the billionnaire club of the world of 2012, 55 th from India and the second from Kerala after Kris Gopalakrishnan of Infosys. ( Don't ask me how the money was made..). In God's presence what matters ?? Even after two thousand years of Jesus and the teachings from the Holy Bible, we revere tax and money collectors !!
Materialism has crept into our church like a cancer and is eating the very roots of spirituality and hitting at the foundation of the church. Why ? Because of materialistic people and businessmen, devoid of much learning and education, sitting in these managing committees, by nomination by the High Priests .. Their aim is to see a strong, materialistic church, not a spiritually strong one.. The very existence of this great church is doubtful as the foundation is getting eroded day by day ..
The aim of this exercise is to understand whether we have the right leaders from laity, honest and pious, not practicing politics in the committee, willing to put up with dissent and questioning, with real intention to see that we remain the same spiritual church our forefathers for generations toiled for and not a materialistic one..
Though I am not optimistic that this will find a common chord with the people who matter, I am reminded of this quote ..
It is hard to fail, but it is worse never to have tried to succeed - Theodore Roosevelt.
Luke 21: 1- 4 says,
[21:1] As he looked up, Jesus saw the rich putting their gifts into the temple treasury.  He also saw a poor widow put in two very small copper coins.  "I tell you the truth," he said, "this poor widow has put in more than all the others.  All these people gave their gifts out of their wealth; but she out of her poverty put in all she had to live on."
Faith or (black) money, which has true relevance in our church ?
Let us not squander a great cultural and spiritual heritage which we have inherited over twenty centuries ..
I am reminded of the words of the late Geevarghese Mar Osthathios Thirumeni of Niranam, " Pattu vasthram dharichone, shubhra vasthra dhaariye, Laasarine marakkalle, Laasarine marakkalle .. "
Peace be unto you all !!