50 YEARS OF GOD’S MARVELLOUS GRACE
Excerpts from the Message of Stanley Mehta during the Light of Life Golden Jubilee Thanksgiving Service.
Recognise the Milestones
-Of starting a Correspondence Course (of which I was a student), adding a Christian magazine called Light of Life and then adding a Christian Bookshop.
-Of the initial years, tedious labour, low budget, compiling the magazine in Bombay, sending it to Chalisgaon and posting it from there. Of editors who lived in rented accommodation and served on low salaries.
-In sustaining them during difficult periods- e.g., in getting editors during various transient periods like the time of furlough, accident, surviving with the sudden change in government policy on financial support.
Growth of The Magazine
-In number of pages from 8 to 12 to 40 and now to over 100.
-In number of subscribers.
-In number of contributors.
-In number of articles.
-In the quality of production.
A Prophetic Voice
-Bold and daring articles.
-Dealing with sting operations like in the case of the Bible Society.
-Dealing with controversial subjects which no one else is willing to risk handling.
-News reports which stir up faith to pray and/or rejoice in the progress of God’s Kingdom.
-50 years it has survived. -It has been self-supporting.
-Belief in the power of the printed word.
-Inculcating the habit of reading in this electronic generation.
These are the seven milestones, factors or facets of the story of the magazine in its 50 years of existence and its ability to celebrate the Golden Jubilee.
But the number 7 and the word “golden” also remind me of the fact that gold goes through a refining process 7 times, in order for it to be purified and come forth as 24-carat gold.
That was the past, until now. Let me address about the future.
This is addressed to the Editorial Board and to all of us Christians. It should be a challenge to all of us in Christendom, including myself. We pray that it will celebrate the Diamond Jubilee, the Platinum Jubilee and then the Centenary as well.
A Prophetic Voice
What next? In the Bible, we are told of the sons of Issachar -they knew to read the signs of the times and knew what Israel should do. They were like a prophetic voice to the nation. So, will Light of Life remain a prophetic voice to the people of God? Will we also have a prophetic voice to the rest?
An Apostolic Voice
A pioneering tool in moulding the future. Have you read of the phrase “Developmental journalism”? Rightly diagnosing the problem, exposing the scam or the rot, and then providing a remedy as well as a strategy to change the scenario. Please do not underestimate the power of the pen. Charles Dickens wrote the story of Oliver Twist, and exposed the plight of the orphanages. It awoke the conscience of the British people and they passed laws to protect the orphans. William Carey also used the power of the pen, and exposed the evil of Sati through his weekly newspaper; that caused the British government to act and pass a Bill against the practice of Sati. As Christians, do we have an answer?
Problems in Society
Abortion, child trafficking, crime, terrorism, communalism, extremism, fascism, scourge of HIV/AIDS, rising problem of old people, major illnesses, pornography, oppression of the Dalits, empowering the downtrodden people by education, wrong values promoted by the media, materialism, homosexuality, lesbianism, live-in relationships, dowry, addictions, etc. Government does not have an answer. In the earlier days, Pandita Ramabai provided an answer to the destitute women, to the female orphans, to the widows, to the destitutes. Amy Carmichael dealt with the Devdasi system. Do we have an answer to the social evils of our day?
Problems in Christendom
Would we be able to awaken the conscience of Christians, and wake them up from their stupor?
Non-Biblical role models of the Tele-evangelists
Non-Biblical practices of the churches leading to compromising the faith.
Worldliness in the church.
Politics in the church – concerning power struggle and grabbing of property rights, from members to Committee members and even to the level of Pastors and Bishops.
Pure faith versus syncretic faith.
Have the Editorial Board done a survey of the age group of its readers? My guess is that the bulk of the readers are in the older age bracket, rather than teenagers or young people. In which case, the future of the magazine may be bleak. The young people are going the multi-media way – like the internet, podcast, MP3, MP4, web based seminars called webinars. Will Light of Life have an electronic edition?