Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Usefullness of the hausman (ceremonial house)

Last Sunday I went to Kala village which is 30 minutes away from CLTC. The college van took us and we were dropped off at the turn off which leads in to a bush track. Eight students and I walked for 1 hour before reaching our destination. It was the cell group ministry weekend and my cell group was sent to Kala Revival Lutheran Church. We had to walk back to the road and wait for the bus.  It was a good exercise and a test of spiritual endurance.

As we were walking, I caught up with one of the final year (Diploma Th 4) students from West Sepik. He was talking about how the young people were being influenced by movies and from what they hear from their peers. He also referred to sex aids used by young people. This trend is very frightening because there is no proper teaching for the young people.

As we talked and discussed along the way I thought of how teaching and nurturing was done in the olden days in the hausman (ceremonial house). The same trend can be seen in the Old Testament as the Israelites were warned by Moses to pass on teachings which they heard from Moses onto the next generation. And that the next generation would keep passing on the tradition. (Refer to Deut 4). In Deut 4:9-14, there is a trend that emerges in the OT- where parents are the teachers, Bible as the text book and house as the classroom. Deut 6:7-9 also talks about teaching the younger generation. This kind of instruction was done in the hausman or the rupu as my people call it. Nowadays such places for instructions are not around therefore the onus is now on the church.

How can we do this in the modern age? Well in Africa a church has come up with a youth program that relates to young people. The youths are taught how to handle peer pressure, how to abstain from fornication, how to relate to the opposite sex and so on. I think it would be good for the churches in PNG to address such issues. Now that we have improved and state of the art communication systems we need to be prepared in advance.

In the past such issues were taken care of in the hausman o hausmeri. However due to modern influences we need to consider doing what the African churches have done. Think of Bible studies, TEE, cell groups or other small groups were people can discuss and come up with ideas to help the younger generation before it is too late. Due to the sensitivity of the issue, we can come up with relevant, biblical and Melanesian ways of reaching, encouraging and strengthening our people. Remember our young people are our future and our destiny.

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