The Third Perspective: A Confession and its Aftermath

R.B. Thohe Pou

A Confession – only two words which many people might have ignored to read in detail as they glanced the headlines on 24th July 2007. However, for some people – that was the day the controversial issue on Dr. Shishak Tuisem’s confession began. Any controversial issue is an eye opener to the people and I personally believe that it may give a great impact to the Nagas to learn a good lesson. There are many people who are supporting Dr. Tuisem’s confession just as there many who are against his confession on behalf of the Tangkhuls…

There were copious articles published in response to Dr. Tuisem’s confession. I do not know if he was expecting such a good response from others – may be against or in support of him. I am sure that some of those who responded to his confession might have not had a second thought before they responded to Dr. Tuisem’s confession.

A Confession – was something like a small Pandora Box that was opened. Reading all the responses from religious leaders, politicians, student leaders and concerned Naga people – a question came to my mind as, “if you are going to write an article in response to Dr. Tuisem’s confession and TNL’s excommunication, how would you react? Personally, I do not want to support him nor against him. However I have some expectations from both the groups – those who are against him and those who are supporting him. For everything, there is cause and effect; everything that we do should have the impact – whether we support or against him.

I personally believe in practicing what I talk and write. If we become a talker or writer without putting it into practice in real life – we become another hypocrite. I am also very religious like others; at the same time, I can also be very irreligious. Henceforth, I can give my full support to him by accepting him since no one is perfect or be against him by pointing out his mistakes.

It seems many people are confused with the word, “Confession” and “Freedom of expression”. We also need to understand the Biblical meaning of Confession before we condemn or give our support to him. I believe that repentance leads to confession but confession may not lead to repentance. Is Dr. Tuisem’s confession a repentance to confession or confession to repentance? There are different Christian denominations; some believe in confessing their sin to Pope, Father, and Pastor. However some Christians believe in direct contact with God and confess their sin to God with repentance. There are some people having strong faith, while others having a weak faith and people having weak faith may not accept confession of any crime and pleading to forgive.

There are pros and cons in public confession. We all need to repent our sin and confess our sin to God. But it may not be necessary to confess a sin that brings chaos to the society. Will God not accept our repentance and confession without confessing in public? How will you react if some one confess to you that he had raped and killed your sister or mother? Is that a confession and repentance or is that an insult to you? Will God not forgive us if we repent from our heart and cry to the Lord in private? Or do we need to confess publicly? God is the God of love and peace. God may not want us to confess like the hypocrites and bring chaos in the society. If we go according to Dr. Tuisem’s confession – I am afraid that those who support him may confess to serious crimes and bring chaos to our society. Personally, I do not believe in public confession but we all need to repent and confess our sin to God. Some times it may be good to have public confession but I think it is not necessary to confess our sin publicly.

Freedom of expression seems to be another confusing word for many people. Some of the people who are in support of Dr. Tuisem also claim that the excommunication restricts freedom of expression. I think freedom of expression never means that we can defame our own tribe, other tribes or put to shame someone intentionally. Many people may think that Dr. Tuisem calling his people as arrogant, with false pride, disunited and then asking the forgiveness of the crime committed by the Tangkhuls may be freedom of expression. But what about those who do not believe in such kind of public confession and freedom of expression?

There are many people who are in support of Dr. Tuisem and they want to revoke the TNL’s decision to excommunicate Dr. Tuisem. However they are also many people who are against him.

To those who are against Dr. Tuisem:
1. How can we have better unity and peace in our society without being called to repentance and confession?
2. What are the other means to bring more unity and peace in our society?
3. How can the political system survive without involving the church leaders?
4. Is it Nagaland for Christ? If yes then why is it not relevant to confession of sin?
5. Why don’t you believe in public confession and confession of sin on behalf of his tribe?
6. Why should or should not politics and religion mix together?

To those who support Dr. Tuisem:
1. Should we expect all those who support Dr. Tuisem to confess their own sin and come to repentance and bring more unity in our Naga society?
2. As there are many who are supporting Dr. Tuisem’s confession – shall we expect that all the leaders will help the others to bring into repentance and confess their sin – bringing great revival in Nagalim within a few years? If there is no great revival in Nagalim, then people might have just blindly supported him for the sake of supporting him.
3. Dr. Tuisem’s confession and its supporters will be proved right if more leaders come out to confess and are in turn accepted by their tribes.
4. Should those who support him also confess the sins on behalf of their tribe and ask forgiveness from other tribes?
5. Do you believe that one person can confess the sin for whole tribe? If you believe in this kind of confession – are you ready to confess the sin of your tribe?
6. Do you believe that God will forgive our sin only through public confession?

If Dr.Tuisem would have written the article calling to repentance and confession without confessing the sins of the Tangkhuls, many people might have accepted to his call to repentance and confession to God. If we are not ready to repent and confess our sin from our heart, the repentance and confession by some one for our sin may not be acceptable by God. We need the inspiration and the work of the Holy Spirit to repent and confess our sin but we may not need some one to repent and confess for our sin. If our sin can be forgiven through some one’s prayer and confession – we may not need to pray and believe in God since we have our Pastor, Father, Brothers and Sisters in the church to pray and confess our sin for us. Should we be against him because we have personal problem with him? Or should we give our support to him because we respect him? It would be unfair to against him because of our personal problem; it would also unfair to support him because of he is a respectable person.

Personally I don’t want to defend and I don’t want to condemn him but I think we have differences in our Philosophical and Biblical understanding of partaking of sin, public confession and confession of sin on behalf of the whole tribe. Some of the Tangkhuls might be arrogant, have false pride, harass, torture and murder others – but what about those innocent villagers? It seems he has generalized the whole tribe taking into consideration of partaking of sin. When we read his article, he starts with, “they say, ‘confession is good for the soul’ but I am not sure. Individuals, peoples, and nations the world over have confessed with no tangible results”. I think he knows that confession without repentance cannot bring any tangible result; it brings more confusion and chaos in the society. But I don’t know why he has to confess the sin instead of calling them to repentance and confession. When we talk about partaking of sin, which he is talking about, I think not a single Naga will be saved because we are still living under India and we are also partaker of the Indian sin; more than 80% of the Indians are non-Christians. However if we are going to be condemned and will go to hell, because of our family or village sin – I think our God is not our personal Savior or God. The Bible says that you and your households will be saved if you believe in me. Then the Bible also says that because of Achan’s sin the Israelites could not defeat a small city Ai unless Achan repented and was put to death. Now the question is shall we put our God as our personal Savior or common God in which we cannot be saved if some one in my village or tribe commits a sin?

Dr. Tuisem’s call to repentance and confession is very appreciable. However his repentance and confession on behalf of his tribe is not appreciable; it may not be helpful to confess without repentance from other side. Shall we also pray and encourage one another to repent and confess our sin before God instead of us confessing and repenting on behalf of others? Who is sinless in this world? We are all sinners and we need to repent and confess our sin to God from our heart. How can we kill some one in cold blood when our heart is filled with God’s love and peace? We all need to repent and confess our sin before God then only we can have a better society in our nation. Shall we also compete in doing good thing for our people instead of trying to compete in creating more problems in our peace loving society?

Kuknalim

source: http://nagalim.co.uk/article262.html

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EXCOMMUNICATION???

 

If, for confessing of sins, seeking forgiveness to God for our people amounts to excommunication from the people, for whom with tears we are pleading before God day and night, Dr. Tuisem is no exception, I also deserve the same fate for praying and confessing the sins of our Naga people before God these seventeen times from January 1, 2007 till today. I should have been excommunicate seventeen times now.

Thousands of believers in Naga churches including NBCC’s office should have been closed and sealed because very often the believers pray seeking forgiveness of Naga sins before God. Are we so righteous, clean and sinless before God as to live without needing repentance for all the heinous crimes we have committed? Do you not hear the cry of the forced orphans and childless parents? Where do their tears flow? Where does the blood of your victims flow? Do you know how many innocent, precious lives our peoples have been killed? Can we escape scot-free from God who created them in His image? Have we not realized till today that we are not worth living after destroying our kid and kin? Which God do we believe? Which Bible do we read and believe in what way?

The reckoning day is coming soon. What ever you have done in your body will be given to you. If you have destroyed the innocent lives, rest assure, the day is coming when all your children and their children will face the same brunt, because no wicked man is going to escape from the wrath of the Living God. We Nagas, individually and corporately should seek God’s forgiveness in sack clothe and ashes now with tears. We dare not play with God as we do amongst us.

The Israelites willfully committed sins thereby grieved God; therefore those who disobeyed God were debarred from entering Canaan. Only their children and children’s children entered, that too after 40 years. Even the most trusted leader Moses, who spoke face to face with God, could not enter Canaan, just because he did not glorify God in Meribah in the presence of his people. Naga leaders! if you want to bring your peoples to Canaan, glorify God with all your heart, soul and strength. It’s now more than 60 years but our Canaan seems a long way.

Dr. Tuisem and Margaret came to Nagalim with visions from the Lord to impart the blessings of God to our children. Today, most of the churches and institutions are manned by their students, who are committed believers. Not only that, thousands of musicians are mostly of Patkai Christian college alumnus. The most unfortunate people are those who do not see the good things one has done for us. Tuisems have given their best enduring suffering, shame and disgrace, knowing fully well that there is in store for them great reward in heaven.

I know Tuisem since 1977. He is a real gem of our Naga society. A man of integrity rare gift bearer from God. A man who translates in deed what he preaches. An exemplary figure transforming many through him. I know he is undaunted for excommunicating him by our people, because he counts on God more than what the world serves him. Here goes a song for warriors in Christ-
If when you give the best of your service, Telling the world that the Savior is come, Be not dismayed when men don’t believe you, He understands; He’ll say “Well done.”
Misunderstood, the Savior of sinners, Hung on the cross; He was God’s only Son; Oh! Hear Him call His Father in heaven, “Let not my will, but Thine be done. “
If when this life of labor is ended,

And the reward; of the race you have run; Oh! take the sweet rest prepared for faithful, Will be His blest, He’ll say” Well done.”
But if you try and fail in your trying,
Hands sore and scarred from the work you’ve begun; Take up your cross, run quickly to meet Him,
He’ll understand, He’ll say, “Well done.”

I salute you, brother in Christ. I envy you for all the wonderful things you have done for our people, for which you are going to receive rewards from the Lord. You once wrote in Nagaland Post on
May 05, 1997 – “I believe, true Christians are above mere human consideration”.
It is so true that I noted down in my diary and rewrites here. May God, who sees our innermost thoughts and deeds, preserve you and your family to carry out His wills even when people misunderstands.

K.L.Merry, Dimapur

In defence of Rev. Dr. Shishak

I was awestruck to come across in the local dailies under the headline Rev.Dr.Shishak ex-communicated, which reads, The Thangkhul Naga Long (TNL) took cognizance of Rev.Dr.Shishak Confessional Statement and has debarred him for 6 years in any activities of the Community concerned.

It is astounding to note the action of TNL (The apex body of Tangkhul Naga Tribe), the Long which is considered as a torch bearer in safe guarding and upholding the sanctity, dignity and rights of the Nagas in general and the Tangkhuls in particular over these years, has cast the shadow of doubts in the mind of the people by portraying a slanderous campaign on the integrity of a person in the likes of Rev.Dr.Shishak, whom I guess is an iconic figure to many if not all the Nagas.

It has also caused considerable damage not only to the good personality of Rev.Dr.Shishak but on the other way round, to tens and thousands young minds and alike, who takes pride to accord him as academician of repute and an exalted Naga hero particularly in the field of contemporary education, thoughtfulness, down to earth and above all due to his remarkable and outstanding services he has rendered painfully all through these successive decades. I am indebted to Rev. Dr.Shishak for his brilliant contribution as an educationist/academician.

Today, as a vigilant and concern Naga, I wish to acknowledge his brilliant contribution. I also hold my head high with pride and exalt to salute and convey my solidarity to my Principal emeritus Rev.Dr.Shishak, especially at this point of time when his CONFESSIONAL STATEMENT ran/went into rough weather (misconstrued) and subsequently ballooned into a crisis, (ex-communicated).

I should say that, as a human being every one has its own short comings. No matter whatever is the nature of offence, I perceive that each and every issue concerning its interest can be logically solved keeping in mind the positive aspects. But unfortunately Rev.Dr.Shishak had been victimized by own fellow brothers, for his outspoken nature which in turn is a vivid indication of undermining the very edifice of our democratic structure.

I perceive that Rev.Dr.Shishak doesn’t deserve such sanction up to this magnitude or degree and I personally felt that it would lead to the loss of trust among Naga brethren.
Considering this facts, and without any bias and prejudice to any individual/groups/NGOs etc.I joint hands, with a sea of humanity belonging to different strata of society and organized set of working class to humbly appeal for reconsidering its decision i.e., To annul ex-communication against Rev. Dr. Shishak.

Revoke decision on Shishak’

Diampur, Sept 15 (NPN): Expressing anguish over the excommunication of Dr. Tuisem Shishak, the Council of Naga Baptist Churches (CNBC) Saturday urged the Tangkhul Naga Long (TNL) to revoke the resolution by which it had excommunicated Dr. Shishak from the Tangkhul community for six years.
In a letter, CNBC general secretary Rev. Dr. V.K. Nuh urged TNL president Stephen Angkang to review and revoke the resolution “with retrospective effect immediately”.
Dr. Nuh pointed out that no Naga tribe was free from the sin of pride, prejudice, arrogance etc. He said “Our sinful nature, waywardness, division, dissention and disunity continue to create serious social constraints leading to bloodshed and killing, which is a great hindrance to our political peace process.”
Dr. Nuh pointed out that “shed tears not blood” was the crying voice of every Naga heart and as such, there must be a tribal as well as national repentance, reconciliation and peace if the Nagas were to find a common destiny with dignity.
He said of all the Naga tribes, the Tangkhuls with Dr. Shishak could set an outstanding example if the path of repentance and confession could be pursued.
Dr. Nuh lamented that a “moral and spiritual reality” was made to suffer in the face of a socio-political environment and that a “prophet” had no honour in his home.
Reiterating that the expressions made by Dr. Shishak deserved serious consideration by all the Nagas, Dr. Nuh said the need of the hour was reconciliation not recrimination and repentance and not rejoinder, in the interest of peace and understanding.

Rev Dr. Shishak is a true nation builder

 

It came to me with a great shock that the Tangkhul Naga Long excommu-nicated Rev. Dr Tuisem A. Shishak from its community on the ground that he spoke against the national movement and its leaders. However, I personally feel that he never has been an anti Naga national. In the midst of deep turmoil and blood shed in our Naga society today, he courageously raises his prophetic voice with the hope to bring peace and harmony and God’s blessings to our blood stained land. It reminds me of what our Lord Jesus said, ‘Prophets are not honored in their own country. ‘I am totally convinced that Rev. Shishak is an anointed prophet of God of our time who speaks the truth and stands for it. He loves his people in particular and the Nagas in general. I don’t have to prove it; his sacrifices and contributions for the Naga society speak volume of it. We cannot possibly imagine the building of our nationhood without the emergence of modem education; Rev. Shishak imparted education to thousands of our Naga people bringing us into higher plane. We cannot deny or reverse this fact. His contribution towards educa-tion in our society must be recognized by one and all. Personally speaking, he can be conveniently recognized as the father of the Naga Modem education. In this context, he is a true national worker.

Dear uncle Shishak, we have a great respect for you no matter whatever people may say about you. We continue to uphold you and accept you as our role model, our visionary leader and the hero in the Christian faith. Your selfless sacrifices and contributions for the Naga society will remain a legacy for many generations to come. We are proud of you. You are not the loser but the ones who reject you.

Dr. Rabi Pame

Excommunication of Dr. Shishak

 

Dr. Rev. Tuisem Shishak is one of the most trustworthy senior leaders not only in Tangkhul Tribe but among the Nagas as a whole. His integrity and dedication for the Lord and for bringing up the Nagas is without question. When he has made a confession mentioning about some of the weaknesses of Tangkhul Tribe, it hurt the sentiment of the people of his Tribe and he has been excommunicated for six years. Not only Tangkhul Tribe has weaknesses but all other Naga Tribes too have weaknesses and shortcomings but nobody from other Tribes speak the truth confessing the failures weaknesses of his Tribe except Dr. Rev. Tuisem Shishak.

Whatever treatment meted out to him by his Tribe is not a thing to be wondered at because the prophets like Jeremiah was condemned by his people and thrown to prison. However bitter his statement may be, it is a real blessing to them and it should be taken as a blessing. A statement on some of the points he mentioned are being expected by many in different Tribes from Tangkhul brethren in general and he being a renowned elderly person from ‘Tangkhul Tribe, his statement is a panacea in the situation.

There are many servants of God in Nagaland but he is more concerned about his. Tribe and under the compelling situation he has made such a statement for the good of all which is a challenge for all other Church leaders.

Rev. L. Suohie Mhasi

On ex-communication of Rev. Dr. Tuisem Shishak

 

I sometimes feel a little respect for Mrs. Shusma Swaraj though my compass needle generally points away from the direction of the BJP. She is engaging, fresh looking, has a good voice and maintains a friendly demeanor even when in serious contest with her enemies. But when she threatened to shave off her hairs in protest against Mrs. Sonia Gandhi’s possible elevation to the Premiership of India some years ago because she claims: “she is a foreigner”, I felt aghast! How could such an educated dainty Lady in this civilized age contemplate to do such a thing?

At the beginning of the Naga Political Movement, when the educated were precious few, it so happened two fellows -friends from their childhood- of an Angami Village joined the Naga Army. One of the two did not even had the slightest idea of the English people have a 26-letter Alphabet and the other could only barely differentiate A from B. On joining the movement, the

literate one immedia-tely got the rank of an Instructor and Army Code demanded Recruits to salute their Instructors. The non-literate fellow was dumb founded at the prospect of saluting his bosom friend and true to his cultural trait; he would not bring himself to salute his friend. He promptly went to the higher-ups and told them: “I am prepared to do things you may require me to do, but salute my friend, I will not do.” “You change the Rule”, he said in no uncertain terms and left.

Later on Tangkhul College educated boys and girls joined the Movement and the atmosphere in the Naga Political Movement changed for a higher and more efficient gear. And despite the concentration of power in a few and a shocking lack of a Reverence for Life particularly for the Human in the Organization; all the Tangkhul top leaders of the IM are highly educated and most other less educated Nagas grudgingly got the indication whenever they coughed. Therefore when, one prominent in the Society [Society includes Government also] -Rev, Dr. Tuisem A. Shishak made an open free liberal critical analysis of the

Naga National Organizations and the Naga Communities; including his own Tangkhul Community in particular rather incisively, it was perhaps a golden opportunity, a first cue for all the other Naga Communities to ask themselves: “what does the people

say of me”. Instead, surprisingly the IM Government vehemently criticized Dr. Tuisem and even gravely threatened him physically. Many Nagas of good sense in their mind questioned the sagacity of the Organization. But now, on top of that; the Tangkhul Long has Ex-Communicated Rev, Dr. Twisem A Shishak!

This is a very sad thing; it sends an unfortunate message that transcends the Naga Communities beyond the Tangkhul Long. What is surprising is the completely identical view of the IM and the Tangkhul Long. Ex-Communication -differentiated from Exile- in this modern free civilized age smack of archaic tribal traits and fundamentalism. The most unfortunate and unbelievable part of the Ex-Communication is that Dr. Tuisem is prohibited even from “religious” worship of God from the Church in the Tangkhul Community. The Ex-Communication is unfortunate not only for Dr. Tuisem but also for the highly educated Long as much; it indicates a veiled threat to its member’s Freedom of Expression and sends an unwritten message to them that it would not entertain criticisms it does not like to hear.

The Tangkhul Naga Long may perhaps have to be a little more tolerant, expansive and a little more liberal than this before other Naga Communities look up to the highly educated Long.

 

Thepfulhouvi Solo.