Rev. Dr. J.N. Manokaran is a civil engineer by profession. God has called Rev. Dr. J.N. Manokaran to be a missional leader serving with his family in Haryana as cross cultural missionaries for eleven years. Since 1997 they have returned to Tamil Nadu to help missionaries and pastors to build their capacities by teaching, training and writing. He has authored these books: “Christ and Cities” and “Christ and Missional Leaders”. He has completed his B.D. from Immanuel Theological Seminary, Georgia as an external student, did his M.Th. at Hindustan Bible Institute, Chennai and earned his Ph.D. from International Institute of Church Management. Rev. Dr. J.N. Manokaran's wife Rosy is a constant encourager in the ministry and counsels many people. His daughter Hosanna is a student missionary in Belarus pursuing her Medical studies to become a missionary doctor and son Thambos is in high school. Presently, Rev. Dr. J.N. Manokaran serves as the Managing Director of Trainers of Pastors International Coalition (TOPIC) – India and provides consultancy services to several organizations, mentor several leaders and contributes to several magazines and journals.View all articles by Dr. J.N. Manokaran
History has many booms followed by glooms. The global boom was felt after World War II when many young nations came into existence and a group of countries claimed to have brought ‘kingdom of God’ on earth by installing communist regimes. There was lot of hope of peace and prosperity in the younger nations and among all people. But, except for few nations the political leadership was a total disaster. The misery and poverty multiplied to the majority of the people. Islands of prosperity and progress were seen here and there.
90s saw a new world emerging, called as ‘Uni-Polar’ world with One Global Market Economy. The political leaders, who were once considered as ‘morning star’ of peace and prosperity, were mostly discredited and marginalized. Business leaders were seen as new hope givers for humanity. With technological advancement, communication revolution a ‘flat world’ emerged. Information Technology boom, demand for higher education saw youngsters becoming ‘global nomads’ always were moving to seek greener pasture.
The poorer nations that sought technological know-how and produced consumer goods to feed the great demand of youngsters who became suddenly rich started tasting prosperity. China is a good example. These youngsters wanted too much, too soon. They were willing to pay for things that were not worth. This landed US in sub-prime crisis and its related economic problems and similar sub-prime problems (yet to become public) around the world.
Global boom accelerated…
Global boom triggered a number of things that was not healthy for people, nation or the world. But, in the rat race no body realized; every one became ‘rat’ was running in the same direction not knowing the destination. There was a ‘feel good’ factor, optimistic spirit, a sense of togetherness, ‘networked generation’ a new hope without realizing; they are running in circles not making any movement forward. There was an aura of hope in aiport launges, hotels, restaurants, malls with unending conversations on ‘products’, ‘projects’, ‘innovations’, ‘dreams’, ‘deadlines’…etc.
Three or four decades ago, ideology was considered supreme. Youngsters took some stand and followed that ideology. But, the new world had not ‘stands’ but only ‘stand points’. These stand points are flexible points that could be fixed according to one’s convenience and fickle mindedness. One of the new standpoints is to consume more. An identity of a person is not according to his beliefs or being but according to his capacity to consume. “Global Brand Consumerism” and its local version swept the world. Cities that were defined by history or economy or education were redefined by malls, pubs, eat-outs, theme parks and night life.
Consumerism was also defined by multiple options. Every product was simultaneously ‘mass produced’ and ‘custom produced’. There was outward oneness and togetherness of the products, but adapted to individual needs, tastes.
Hedonism is the life philosophy that has ‘pleasure’ as the ultimate goal and the most important priority in life. A person should exist for pleasure and all events, experience have to be evaluated by pleasure or delight. Pleasure is the only good thing for people or human beings, others are irrelevant. When that pleasure was combined with unlimited individual freedom, it was recipe for disaster. There is no need for reason, only need is emotion. Do what ever you feel like. Any person could do anything and it is alright as long as the individual feels pleasure and good. It may offend somebody, but that person should be ‘tolerant’ and respect other person’s feelings (not opinions).
Another mark of this post-modern generation is ‘body worship’. Previous generations worshipped something outside them or mystics something inside (soul or innerself) them, but this generation worships their own bodies. Health, fitness, beauty, attractiveness, grooming…all became day-to-day vocabulary. Massage parlours, beauty clinics, cosmetic surgery centres, dental decorations, tattoos, nail beautifications, gyms …new service industry came into existence, occupying prime estate in city streets and malls.
Perversion is unnatural and that should be condemned. With individualistic freedom, perversion is not something for which a person should be ashamed about but to be celebrated. For example, Homosexuality is not perversion, but alternative lifestyle and it should be celebrated according to postmodern youngsters. And media gives celebrity status and halo of pseudo glory to these perverts and condemn ‘straight’ people for their ignorance and moral stand. It has become badge of honour.
Reason has been effectively replaced by feeling in all realms of society – a sign of postmodernism. There is no need for debates, discussions and arguments; they are stressful for cerebral faculty. So, it is good demonstrate the feeling by power. ‘Gun culture’ in the West, gang wars, physical violence…has hit headlines of media. Youngsters do not think of ‘social responsibility’ but ‘my rights’- these rights are always feeling that too not right feeling.
In the economic boom, entertainment got integrated to all aspects of life. News become ‘info-tainment’, education becomes ‘edu-tainment’…so on. Mobile phones are not just communication tool but entertainment tool. Satellite television and home theaters have made entertainment to regulate family life. Shopping becomes entertainment, eating out becomes entertainment, picnics becomes entertainment, visual programmes becomes entertainment…it devolves and ‘sex becomes entertainment’. Life does not have serious purpose, just series of entertainments. Life centre is not relationship but entertainment.
The global society needs to be in ICU for spiritual shock treatment and surgery. Alas, prophets try to apply band aids as solutions and declare all will be well. Will the Church produce Prophets for Post-modern era? Yes, God will raise his own witnesses for every generation.
The boom and gloom is cyclic in every generation. It is in a person’s life, family life, local community life, national life and also globally. The aspirations and depressions point out to something that is lacking in humanity and that could be fulfilled only by God. So, Christians anticipate or aspire for Lord’s imminent return that would bring the human aspirations of peace and prosperity into reality. As John the Baptist prepared the way for the first coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, let us prepare the way for His Second Coming.
Dr. J.N. Manokaran