Mar Milithios calls for major revitalisation of approach towards dealing with children

Written By: on Oct 11th, 2010 and filed under Columns, Features, Opinions.

human life.

His Grace who also led a Bible study on rights of child before and after birth also was part of a panel on including children as communicant members in the protestant Churches.

He explains that when we say, “Welcome Children, Welcome Jesus”, we are welcoming children who are already in this post-modern world and we are welcoming Jesus into the midst of children of that age. This calls for an assessment, revision and revitalisation of our approach and methodology in dealing with children of the time.

He goes on to trace the maiden usage of the word post-modernism which was first used in 1950s and 1960s in relation to a movement in architecture which later influenced every area of human life from arts to literature and religion.

However, he identified few specific features of post-modernism for which there was a general agreement on three primary characteristics. These relate to deconstruction or multiple voices, rejection of meta-narrative and rejection of the claim of reason as absolute and universal. The first relates to post-modernism that affirms radical pluralism and rejects the possibility to synthesise stories into a meaningful coherent system. Post-modernism thinks meta-narratives trivialise other experiences and related to the first characteristic. Thirdly, rejection claims of reason as absolute and universal. To post-modernism reality is contextual and fragmented. “With postmodernity, comes a momentous change no longer can cultural and religious knowledge and value be effectively controlled by the intellectual and political elite” There is a shift from the time of parents controlled their children, teachers controlled students, clergy controlled their parishioners, politicians controlling the citizens.

He further reasons that post-modernism is a world “that has not yet discovered how to define itself in terms of what is, but only in terms of what it has just-now-ceased to be.” They see modernism, as an ideology of Western culture which is a serious trouble, It is a time of incessant choosing, where no orthodoxy can prevail because all traditions seem to have some validity”. The modern world was committed to an objective and knowable world. This is denied by postmodernism.

In a new revelation, His Grace spoke about being a ‘Called out Community’. “We believe that we are being called out; and that is what our theme says and also that is what Christianity as a whole claims. As a matter of fact the whole Bible talks about calling.” He gave an example of the the formation of a new community in Abram, who was called out to go (Genesis 12), This was done with two purposes; Firstly to be made a great nation and the other to be in a given land. These can be seen paraphrased as promise of generations and of inheritance, both having the same fundamental goals.

The goal can be summarised in one phrase in classical terms “to establish the Kingdom of God”. Both these can only be actualised through attitudes to children. In the Kingdom of God, through our approach, the whole world shall receive the Gospel and the world shall truly become the inheritance of the children of God. Liberation of the whole creation becomes a reality through the Church and its mission. This is the foundation of our ‘Mission with Children’. Children of the whole world are on our agenda and not just the children in the backyard. There is a wider spectrum and goal,” he spells out.

Explaining about Kingdom of God and children, he calls for a much needed crucial paradigm shift. we have no doubt that we are called to be co-workers with God for the establishment of the Kingdom of God (Matthew 10:7; Luke 9:2). Now the very phrase ‘Kingdom of God’ could be viewed as a matter of authority and power by those in the post-modern era. How do we explain and how do others understand this concept? On the basis of this either a shift in the phrase or a change in attitude need to be introduced. The way Jesus understood Kingdom of God was unique. He used phrases easily understood by people of his time and explained through parables. These parables told his audience that he was not talking about God as a monarch of the time or ‘Kingdom’ as a kingdom of his time. Those of his time were oppressive, dominating and enslaving. He gave new definition to the old phrases ‘king’ and ‘kingdom’. Jesus presented the Kingdom of God as something to do with inclusiveness, freedom and openness (Matthew 13:3ff. in the parable of the leaven; 13:47ff.

He said “For my yoke is easy and my burden is light” (Matthew 11: 29,30). This is the need of the time. It is not the word that matters; it is the concept and definition that makes the difference. If there is a possibility of misunderstanding, we may have to either change or re-formulate the phrase. Through the explanation he gave, he puts confidence in the minds of people, children and the least accounted. Through his approach, he put new meaning to the old phrase.

He gives reference of Jesus with children who were welcomed by Him during his public ministry. But our challenge is, do those who represent him today keep them with or keep them away for any reason as the disciples of Jesus did? It is not the old story or meta-narrative that the children of post-modern times are concerned about. What matters today is, does the Church allow the children to be close to him or not.
He goes further to mention about children’s closeness to Jesus, should include sharing of the Lord’s Table too, pointing it without prejudice. His Ge explains Canon 913 of the Catholic Church which became basis for many Churches to prevent children from the Eucharist table has to be reevaluated. It is here that the question of ‘knowledge’ will be questioned by post-modernism even if we ignore the

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