I don’t know what’s happening to the Christians and those who love Jesus in Thamizh Nadu!
I have categorised into two, since there are card holding subscribers affiliated to Churches in Thamizh Nadu; and those who see Jesus as an incarnation who was not merely compassionate but accepted anyone the way he/she was, and consequently follow Jesus. The second category read the Bible just like any other Holly text and derived their own meanings, until they see some apparent contradictions and get into the Evangelist’s net.
Of all the Evangelists whom I had seen, the most exhilarating, talented, and absolutely contemporaneous in presentation is John Jebaraj.
Like Orpheus he plays his music and doesn’t hesitate to dance and the second category of Jesus admirers, have started following him quite avidly. John Jebaraj is not fishing those card holding subscribers – who are well entrenched in the rituals of baptism, confirmation, wedding ceremonies, and death ceremonies- and need the certificates of those established churches for these occasions.
But to the delight of John Jebaraj, it appears that not just one sheep has been lost but many sheep have been lost and he is able to attract many of those with his brand!
The trouble is that some of the members of those established churches, the utility of which is limited to those ritualised certification, have started enjoying the lyrics and the music of John Jebaraj. In fact I have heard and seen some of the songs of John Jebaraj and I should admit that since Sister Sarah Navaroji there’s been none who pens the lyrics of his songs by stringing parts of verses with promises from the Bible with a mellifluous music with interesting play of instruments. In fact John Jebaraj’s lyrics are what the Thamizh Christian fraternity has been waiting for nearly 30-40 years, since the severance of Sister Navaroji from her parent body – Ceylon Pentecostal Mission. I don’t think she produced such inspired lyrics since she left the organisation which probably had laid the seedbed for her to sprout those lyrics.
There’s a song by name சீர் படுத்துவார் ஸ்திரப்படுத்துவார், which is amazing in its lyrical content and the accompanying music. I’ve seen and heard the rendition by a group of well known evangelists and church heads, in which John Jebaraj is merely one of the singers. I wish I could hear John Jebaraj render a solo of the song. Alas, I found that JioSaavan had acquired some rights to that song. Seems pretty complicated- whether the song writer has the copyright or the composer has the rights or the singers seems mysterious. It is quite possible that John Jebaraj has not claimed the copyright to the song- for reasons best known to him. However, Bro. Paul Dhinakaran and his family seem to be milking the views in YouTube!
The old guard has understood that they would be left behind if the content does not cater to the tastes of the upcoming bread earners- the pensioners and the previous generation can’t provide that level of energy or contributions.
On the sidelines are those Fishers of Men who had built churches which have thrived on tithes and subscriptions- one word which could describe them is PENTECOSTALS. These Pentecostals don’t seem to be happy with the evolution of John Jebaraj as JJ himself breaks out into talking in tongues and thereby has endeared himself to these Pentecostal flocks! But the Pentecostal Church heads don’t seem to be impressed, as their tithing flock may start diverting their resources!
Christianity has evolved to a different level in Thamizh Nadu and it is interesting to watch the evolution. But where’s it heading? New paths beyond the horizons, need to become beaten paths by many walking through those paths before they become acceptable Roads. New generations have their own footprints to be left behind.