“Be fruitful and multiply” (Genesis 1:28)
JOHANNESBURG — “Every child born into this world is the fulfillment of God’s promise. We need to accept children as a gift of God with gratefulness for he has been so gracious to entrust us with one of his most precious and beautiful creations. He trusts us with his nature in potential.”
His Grace Dr Yuhanon Mar Milithios, Metropolitan of Thrissur Diocese, was delivering a key note address at the Council for World Mission (CWM) conference on Mission with Children: God’s call and our Commitment in a Post modern World in Johannesburg, South Africa, last week.
The London-based CWM is a worldwide community of Christian churches committed to sharing their resources of money, people, skills and insights globally, to carry out God’s mission locally.
The metropolitan went a step further modifying from the preconceived theme and including “in a post-modern world’ This being a complex philosophical issue there was a need to address the change from modern to post-modern in the world we live in, he reasons.
Mar Milithios evoked some interesting questions with his talk and urges reconsidering the methodology of mission with children. He cautions that post-modernism poses serious challenges. “The influence of the Church in general has taken a serious and decisive turn. We can formulate philosophy and methodology for caring our children. But the question would be, do they care and listen to us? We need to be up-to-date and understand the world they live in. They are not just our children or tomorrows Church members. They are rather children of the time. It is not the Church or its teachings that control their lives any more. It is the time and the trend of the time that moulds them and controls their lives,” he reasons.
Before his talk, His Grace thanked CWM for making his first-ever visit to South Africa a reality which he termed a dream come true. He recalled how since the age he began reading news paper, South Africa, Johannesburg, Nobel laureate Nelson Mandela, Bishop Tutu, Vinnie Mandela and others became very dear to him for some reason or the other.
His Grace explains: Our children are part of a generation that spends most of the time away from home with friends, teachers and others. The influence of all these on them will be much stronger than that of the family and the Church. The world they confront is a post-modern world with manifold and different characteristics. They see family differently from what their parents and elders saw and lived in. They have not only single parent family and foster parents, they have same sex parents and never married parents. This will certainly influence the value system.
He points out that postmodernism has a negativism inherent in it. “Our children are growing up in this environment. The global economic crisis has made this negativism even more intense. This is where the challenge we have in this regard become even more crucial.”
Quoting from Christian theologian John B Cobb Jr following the famous philosopher Alfred North Whitehead, who said: “God and his creation is on a continuous process.” Our faith proclaims ‘God’s salvation of creation at the fullness of time was inaugurated in Jesus Christ and is awaiting consummation’. The globe revolves and times change. Day after day new dawn occur. No day is a repetition of the old though we may call it with an old name. Sociologists call this age, the age of postmodernism. Those days of modernity are gone, now is the time of post-modernism which influences all areas of