|Text and Context in Dialogue|
Finally I took some time to look at the May issue of Voice of Bhakti Vol. 2, No. 2, May 2003.
I was somewhat uncomfortable with the tone of your reply to Val Inchley's letter (e.g.: The shocking thing to me?), I still got more uncomfortable with the tone of H.L. Richard?s article, but when I read your book review of Maharjan's Comparative Study I got really angry!
Why such a negative approach? Why attacking and belittling almost everything? The book may have its shortcomings (I have not seen it; my focus is on Buddhism, when something similar written by a Nepali Christian will appear, I probably will read it), but this is no way to react to such a brave attempt of a Nepali Christian to come to throw some light on Hinduism.
Here some comments on some of your remarks and Richard's article:
To sum it up: write/ publish in an attitude of tolerance and building up, and not of polemisation, belittling, attacking, tearing down other people's viewpoints and writings. We have enough of that in the secular world in the West and here in Nepal. In a Christian Journal I would expect to see a more tolerant and positive attitude. Yes, uncovering some misconceptions may have a place too, but it should not be the primary aim of such a journal, and there are different ways of doing it. Strengthening, encouragement, comfort and edification are the key words in 1 Cor. 14. How about taking these as guidelines?
Anna Maria Hari
Presently research scholar with the Linguistic Dept. of T.U., Kirtipur
I do appreciate having received the Voice of Bhakti papers and have read them with great interest. They seem to me to present a clear, logical, question-raising approach to some of the fundamental issues of contextualised theology that the church here, as well as expatriates, need to grapple with. As a small example, my church on Saturday celebrated Teej with a service taken completely by the women, including the preaching, with typical Nepali singing and dancing items. It was a lovely contextualisation, probably rare among the churches here. At the same time, my Newari neighbours don't celebrate Teej at all.
The article on the new paradigm for understanding Hinduism as a civilisation is most helpful. I am living currently with a Hindu family. My host is a lawyer, having studied in Japan for 3 years and is very devout, yet open in his religious practice. We have had many discussions of faith issues. To him the whole differentiation of Hinduism and Buddhism is incomprehensible. I have given him the article to read and will be very interested in his response. However 2 things arise.
I have another Brahmin friend, thoughtful and contemplative, who said to me recently I'm half a Hindu, half a Christian. He has been reading Scripture, is most impressed by Jesus' historicity and power, and rejecting some of his own religious practices of fasting, etc. I am sure his beliefs are very inclusive, and the ideas of Christ-bhaktis are most relevant. But how are they to be worked out in practice? Pressures and misunderstandings by family, charges of hypocrisy by other Christians, the risks of syncretism, growth to maturity - all need to be dealt with. I anticipate further issues. The Lord bless your efforts,
Editor: At present we regret that there is no Nepali version of Voice of Bhakti.
I have recently come across the first three editions of VOB and was most impressed. Have there been further editions and if so, how can I access these?
Around this time of Dasai, I wonder what particular issues your readers are facing as believers relating to their Hindu families, neighbours, and friends? Do any of them have testimonies as to how they have coped with these difficulties? I look forward to hearing some response.
Thanks for your journal. It is useful and easy to use. Is there subscription information for this journal? Is it available only online?
William Carey International University
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