Monday, May 12, 2008

Thoughts On The Spiritual Life Of Goa

The Indian state of Goa was a Portuguese colony for about 400 years. The Roman Catholic influence of those 400 years of colonization is seen everywhere. Large ancient churches, small quaint chapels, "Christian" names on everything from people, to stores, to bars and restaurants*.

However, as far as zeal for Christ goes, the state is pretty much dead. Over the week that we were there we rarely passed a Hindu temple where some program or worship wasn't going on, whereas the numerous churches and chapels were closed and silent and shut up with big padlocks. Sad.

We even talked about what it would take to bring some of the light of Christ to Goa. One of the main drawbacks we were told is that the state has become so commercial and such a tourist center and vacation spot that even renting a small thatched roof huts to hold a church service is too expensive.

Ii suggested that there were loads of church buildings and chapels already built, literally on every corner - Not being used. Talk to whomever is in charge and at least they would be used for the Lord. That idea was shot down with a big - not ever gonna happen. Apparently the Catholics and Protestants do not work together in Goa.

On a brighter note, we had a lovely time on the train trip from Goa to Bombay and there were very nice people in our area of the train. One woman was a Christian (she had her Bible with her) and I observed her during the long train ride. At the end of our trip we had a chance to talk and she was a Goan Roman Catholic living in Bombay and she was obviously filled with the Holy Spirit and zeal for the Lord.

*for example: "St. Anthony's Bar."


the mccollums... said...

this is very interesting...I always thought that the history of Christianity being in Madras or Kerela...didn't think Goa. Sounds like the churches in the south have continued their zeal for God as oppossed to the churches in Goa.

Peakvistas said...

Rebecca, this is David Arbour (of David and Karen in Balt.)

I thought your idea on the usage of RC Churches was excellent. On the catholic side there's a lot of talk about ecumenicalism etc...but it never seems to go anywhere. Perhaps restarting the dialogue is what is needed given the real-estate situation.

Rebecca O said...

Hi David, I didn't know you visited us here at ATLD. Welcome!