A largely Christian area of India, Kerala is a matriarchal society, and currently communist. The women must be doing a good job, because education is high, everyone speaks English, and Kerala is the wealthiest part of India. We were once told that they have the highest percentages of Phds per capita in the world. Unfortunately they also have little jobs to support those Phds, and so many of Keralites leave after earning them.
On our backwaters rice boat tour, we stopped at a small church. St. Thomas, one of Jesus’s twelve apostles, had made his way to India after the crucifixion and established several churches in the Kerala region. This was one of them, and his followers where known as Thomas Christians. I felt a familiar presence in the church, like I did in many, a result of my childhood upbringing I’m sure. But though the structure was plain and small, it felt angelic here, and ancient. I tried to imagine Thomas preaching here almost two thousand years ago, and I realized India’s Christian roots lay deeper than my own country’s.
Kevin whispered in my ear, “When the Christian missionaries came here, they started preaching about Jesus, many people accepted him as another god. Of course, the missionaries had a lot harder time convincing people Jesus was the only one to worship. Hinduism is all inclusive, you know.”
We were excited to find orbs in our photos and showed them to the priest. He looked at it dispassionately,“I think it has something to do with the flash and dust.” I was not surprised, but nonetheless perplexed by his disbelief. Wasn’t this man’s whole religion based on miracles?
“People attribute these to angels or other beings like ghosts,” we explained. The priest was not convinced, and barely tried to humor us, but I for one thought it was a nice sign on Christmas Eve.