zondag 20 september 2015

Gereja Diaspora revisited: the status of Muslims

During my last trip to Manado I took the time to read again the longer version of Mangunwijaya's Gereja Diaspora. It is the 1999 Kanisius book of 230 ;pages.
The book is written like an essay, switching from theme to theme. One first theme is the criticism on Dutch missionaries who came from a uniform Catholic region and were used to dominate their flock. School, political party, economics, education and church, it was all regulated. The Jakarta priests, the first audience for this proposal, have a congregation that lives spread, in a diaspora, among people of very different traditions. Muslim are seldom mentioned in a more outspoken way. One of 4 examples is page 59 where he writes about a Catholic engineer in the oil industry 'who works often in Singapore or New York and has more intense contact with Muslim or irreligious colleagues than with the priest of his parish.' On page 69 he discusses the lack of ordained and formal priesthood with Protestants and Muslims: the family is the nucleus of the faith community and they are not less devoted and faithful than Catholics. On page 80 the idea of the Kingdom of God as the ultimate goal of the Christian faith is mentioned, but immediately defined as broader than the Catholic Church, or even the Christian community. Also dedicated Muslims can be seen as 'fighters for the Kingdom of God' (pejung demi Kerajaan Allah).
Religious leaders should be ' comunicators, coordinators, facilitators and dynamisators' (although there is some lip-service about ordained priests for sacramental functions) and also Protestant ministers or Muslim kiai/ustaz can have these functions.
The real basis of the religious community should not be the special sacramental position of the clergy, but the family, local groups. This aspect is not really present in the various places of the book on Catholics in Independent Indonesia, 1945-2010, where the idea of Catholics as a open minority is more stressed.

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