Between Discourse and the Field

“For me, CRCS really helps me in shaping paradigms and preparing me to learn,” Marthen Tahun, a CRCS alumnus, said when he was interviewed by a member of the CRCS website team by phone, on Wednesday, 29 April. For him, a man born in East-Soe in 1972, his current job in American Friends Service Center (AFSC) is a continuing lesson, and CRCS has prepared him for such further study.

During the interview Marthen was in West Timor. He works with four institutions which are partners of AFSC in West Timor to support their programs. The institutions have different concerns, but principally their programs involve services to better society. For example, a commission of the synod of Gereja Masehi Injili Timor (GMIT), one of AFSC’s partners, has been a program to prepare and improve the capability of religious leaders in West Timor in facing social issues.

Now that Mathen works on social and religious issues, his studies at CRCS that discussed real phenomena in society have taken on new meaning. He remembered discussing Paul Knitter’s point of view of dialogue of action, and the fact that people in grassroots movements have been doing it for a long time. Nevertheless, by discussing and understanding these concepts, he has been prepared to face the phenomenon of dialogue of action directly in the field in all its complexity.

At the end of this interview, Marten provided information about religious issues after the legislative election in East Nusa Tenggara. For him, the phenomenon of the election there is unique. He explained, “the segregation that happened there is not based on the ideologies of parties or religions. If the segregation were based on religion, then of course almost all of East Nusa Tenggara people, as a Christian majority, should have chosen Partai Damai Sejahtera. The fact was not like that.”

For Marthen, religious issues only exist at certain levels. For instance, there are many Christians who have become legislators of PKB, PBB and some parties that represent certain religions. The religious issues will be strengthened if there are fewer political alternatives such as when a party a Christian has been affiliated with becomes more closely tied with non-Christian religious institutions. Political parties in East Nusa Tenggara are perceived by Marthen only as vehicles of political interests. [JMI]

This post is also available in: Indonesian

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