Tag Archives: Religion


Through a reblog by my friend Robert Okaji, I read this moving piece from prairiepomes


The joy of the Lord is my strength. – Nehemiah 8:10

So there’s Nehemiah, ringside at the Ultimate Fighting Championships. Or is that him at the Rumble in the Jungle, as the ‘Ali, Bomaye!’ chant starts up? Is that him swaggering behind Bruce Lee? What is the appearance of this strength? What is the joy of the Lord?

I didn’t see my Mom as a joyful person. She was definitely not the one to be happy-clappy, singing out the ‘joy of the Lord,’ that is for sure. She was often grim and weary, actually, burdened by many responsibilities, beset by challenges, bowed down by grief and betrayal; her strength lay in her firm resolve.

There was a day when I accompanied her to our new home, 19.8 acres, fenced, with a yard site and barns. It would become the family home base. On that day, though, it was not yet…

View original post 1,603 more words

The Clash of Religion and Culture

Picture by Lonely Planet, courtesy of EMTV PNG website.

The clash of religion and culture – the fight that almost brought the House down How many times do we hear about religion and culture clashing?Does someone’s personal belief make it right for them to destroy a nation’s heritage? Religion versus culture and vice versa is a topic that often raises concerns around the world. In 2013, I remember protesting against the destruction of 19 cultural objects in the Papua New Guinea (PNG) national parliament house on Facebook, with many others. Our National Speaker  who comes from Morobe Province, decided that he did not want the 19 statues that represented the provinces to be in the chamber. He ordered the removal and destruction of the statues, build with the house by the first prime minister, Sir Michael Somare.

The lintels removed and damaged in the interface of the parliament chamber. Picture from Dr Andrew Motu, Head of PNG National Museum.

Ryan Shram write this very interesting article about the incident and discusses the argument about religion and culture in the material world. Ryan goes even deeper into the history of the house and the country. Click here to read this story. While I am a christian, I treasure the beliefs and good traditions of my ancestors in Melanesia, and especially in PNG. My grandmother was a great believer of both – you learnt the christian ways and you also use your traditions because that is what your identity is. Your heritage is also one that has given birth to you and there are so many great things you can learn from your culture through your beliefs, foods, celebrations, rituals and many more. It is not easy to separate yourself from your culture and your heritage – unless you choose to. Traditional medicine healed Melanesians and other indigenous people before European medicine came. The rituals and spiritual practices provided  – food, water and shelter and created sharing, love and healing in a community that was balanced with nature. All the practices were connected to and derived from nature and the environment. There are traditions in Melanesian heritage that are not good. These include sorcery and witchcraft, confusion between what is an ailment and what is a spiritual curse, the Big Man syndrome (the act of thinking you are wealthier and better with more status so you could manipulate and have several wives). The treatment of women and girls as second class is another Melanesian culture I detest. What are your experiences of your culture and religions – please share your comments here.

Sokushinbutsu: Mummified Japanese Monks

I have found these stories very fascinating. One story is about the Japanese monks and the other story is about ancient Chinese statues and an interesting discovery.


Scattered throughout Northern Japan around the Yamagata Prefecture are two dozen mummified Japanese monks known as Sokushinbutsu, who caused their own deaths in a way that resulted in their mummification. The practice was first pioneered by a priest named Kuukai over 1000 years ago at the temple complex of Mount Koya, in Wakayama prefecture. Kuukai was founder of the Shingon sect of Buddhism, which is the sect that came up with the idea of enlightenment through physical punishment. A successful mummification took upwards of ten years. It is believed that many hundreds of monks tried, but only between 16 and 24 such mummifications have been discovered to date.

The elaborate process started with 1,000 days of eating a special diet consisting only of nuts and seeds, while taking part in a regimen of rigorous physical activity that stripped them of their body fat. They then ate only bark and roots for another thousand days and began drinking a poisonous tea made from the sap of the Urushi tree, normally used to lacquer bowls. Read more

Here is another story relating to the same.


Researchers at the Drents Museum in the Netherlands made a shocking discovery when they imaged an ancient Chinese statue and found a nearly 1,000-year-old mummy inside.

Sitting in the lotus position, the mummy fits within the statue perfectly.

“On the outside, it looks like a large statue of Buddha,” the museum said in a release. “Scan research has shown that on the inside, it is the mummy of a Buddhist monk who lived around the year 1100.”

Read More