Famous missionaries and crusaders like Billy Graham and Louis Palou
came to Nepal, but instead organizing spectacular healing programs, can we
not use the money to build hospitals or houses for disable people? The
churches encourage their members to be involved in conversion and do not offer
proper advice on how to become a responsible member of the society.
Non-Christian festivals and rituals are only talked about in terms of
temptation. During Dasain, Tihar and national holidays churches
organize events, in order to prevent people going home and being tempted of
forced to participate in rituals. While Nepalis from all corners of the country
and even from abroad travel home, Christian gather within the four walls
of their churches. When people fail to abstain from the rituals, for
instance when they cut their hair and wear white clothes after a family member
had died, they are not allowed to enter the church."
Q: Why did you choose to leave the church, instead of trying to
transform the church from within?
"Our churches have inherited a colonial type of leadership. Pastors
are regarded to be God=92s representatives and their words are not
challenged. Therefor it would have been a difficult struggle to
change things from within. We left with a good understanding.
Q: What does sagarmatha fellowship stand for?
"We choose a Nepali name, because we thought that would be a good
start of the Nepalisation process. Sagarmatha represents the ultimate height,
and transparency and purity. As a group we try to define what the core of
Christianity is, and what part of culture. Christmas for instance is
not mentioned in the bible. Therefore we believe we have the freedom to
celebrate the coming of Jesus Christ, the victory of good over evil,
during Dasain. We motivate the members to be responsible members of society.
We don't have a paid pastor, because we believe we should have regular jobs like
everyone else. In our teaching we include social issues and we celebrate
national events like martyrs day. We have a democratic leadership and women
are equal to men. We do not accept foreign donor money, but we do allow
expatriates to become members like ourselves."
Interview taken by Lucia de Vries
(This article was originally published in Dec 96- Feb 97s Face to
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Subject: What if all Nepalis became Christians?