Fullness of Life in Mae Enga Traditional Religion and Christ the Life
The Mae Enga are friendly, hospitable, strong of character and different from the other groups of Papua New Guinea. Through a brief reflection on the traditional world-view centered life and on evaluation of their concept of life, the study forms a foundation for dialogue and inculturation.
The material used in this article, beside the literature, is data collected during my research in 2020, via one-on-one interview (30 women and 30 men) and group discussions (10 women and 10 men) from two villages: Par and Yampu). A qualitative method was employed.
The findings of the research show that the whole life of the Mae Enga is oriented towards reciprocal relationships with the entire universe to experience abundant life here on earth, within one’s own clan community. Despite the socio-cultural changes that influence their values, beliefs and attitudes, the “life” remains the central value but the ways of obtaining life have changed. The traditional religion is giving space to Jesus Christ the Life, who takes Mae Engans “beyond” their own clan and offers to them a new identity as followers of Christ, Ktaisanya Tata (Tribe of Jesus Christ).
The presented reflection creates a space for dialogue between Christianity and culture. Jesus Christ enters the present Mae Enga socio-cultural reality in order to transform it, to offer a new identity and a new dimension in their search. In turn, the Mae Enga offer to the world the “Face of Christ” with its own cultural features and values, with its ways of worship and reconciliation.
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