The Crisis of the Divide between Secular and Sacred

We do not speak up against injustice committed against/by our religious bodies or their adherents. When someone is suffering, raped, shot/murdered, assaulted, abused (faces domestic abuse), and so on, there is silence. If someone does speak, they are shushed by the people who believe that the sacred should not interfere with secular matters.


There is a tendency to differentiate the secular from sacred in the thinking and practices of contemporary Northeast India. Such a tendency has caused the divide between secular and sacred in their everyday life. This has caused a humanitarian crisis in their Christian practice, particularly within the Tangkhul community. The crisis comes from the assumption that religious institutions/organizations should not involve in social-public activities/events – if they do, they are ill-spoken, even by those who are well informed.

Secular and Sacred

This segregation is deeply connected with how religious institutions and their adherents see their task. Religious institutions and organizations are expected to gather for sacred activities and events. Within the Tangkhul community, the sacred activities are limited to morning devotion, prayer, Sunday/family worship, singing hymn, preaching (evangelism), and so on; the sacred events can be attending church service/programs, annual gathering, evangelistic camp, conference, seminar, workshop, etc. Those who are engaging in sacred activities and events are deemed spiritual by the society. By and large, these sacred activities and events are limited to the religious settings or their premises. Unfortunately, many people think that their task should remain there – and not move beyond secular matters. For example, if a pastor preached about Covid-19 vaccination, it is seen as stifling the secular matters.

What then is a secular matter? It is freely used to refer to activities-events that are not associated with spiritual-religious matters. It is used to identify subjects/concerns that are not bound by religious concerns, boundaries, and rules (or at least, that is the assumption). That which is categorized as a secular activity-event is seldom engaged by religious bodies or it is expected to be avoided by its adherents. In such thinking, work/workplace, place of study/research, culture/cultural studies, social work/service, politics/political concerns, economic (financial), scientific advancement, etc. are considered the things of the world (secular). Once an event-activity is labelled as such, it is generally neglected or rarely interacted in the public. This is the cri

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