Tuesday, August 9, 2011

How a News Release over the Internet from Trivandrum, Kerala, India, led to a significant meeting with a with a conservative religious leader in Kerala

By Rev Steve Parelli,
Written August 4, 2011
Royal Goan Beach Club, Baga, Goa

The following events occurred in Kerala, India, in July of 2011

Immediately following the TTF (Trivandrum Theological Forum) Young Lay Leaders’ Conference of July 7 – 9, 2011, in Kerala, India, I published two News Releases to the Internet from our Classic Ave Hotel in Trivandrum. The first News Release highlighted what I said in a seminar at the conference on July 7, and the second News Release highlighted what Jose said in his seminar on July 8.

I published these News Releases on the Other Sheep website (as articles), on the Other Sheep Blog (as News Releases), and sent out an Other Sheep eNews (as News Releases) to our readership. As News Releases, the notices included our names as contact persons with our mobile numbers in India.

In Tamil Nadu, where we spoke by invitation to the president and three faculty members of a small theological school, we were told by the receptionist of a second institution in the same town where we left our News Releases (and other material) for the Bishop, that he had just seen the News Release on the Internet that morning.

Without saying so, I thought he had to be mistaken. But when I gave it some thought, it was possible. In fact, just two days earlier, a long-standing religious leader of a recognized conservative Christian institution in Kerala, having seen the News Release over the Internet, phoned us at our hotel. He told us how he came to see the News Release, that the News Release was being circulated within conservative Christian circles in Kerala, and that he wanted to help us in some capacity in the distribution of the Malayalam book on the Bible, sexual minorities and inclusion. He would do so subversively and undercover.

We kept in contact with this individual through texting. He would text us almost daily. He texted us his ideas for distributing the book. He helped us find a translator who translated the News Release into Malayalam. He asked to meet with us in person to discuss ideas on how he could help in the continuation of the distribution of the book throughout Kerala once we left Kerala. Within the days that followed, we did meet in Kerala, spending about four hours together in which he discussed his views on sexual minorities, the conservative theological conditions in Kerala especially as it relates to late 20th century Western influence, and the particulars of getting the Malayalam book into circulation.

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