Peace, reconciliation, and conflict resolution in tribal tradition
And Christian peacemaking
Today many Tribals have successfully integrated into urban Indian society, where caste origins are less obvious and less important in public life. But in rural places, caste origins are more readily apparent and tribals remain excluded from local religious life, though this exclusion in its severity is in fact diminishing due to changing social norms of acceptable behavior. Many Tribals changed their names so that people could not recognize that they are tribals in the educational institutions and in the offices or in other public working places. But on the other hand, justice is not fully done for the Tribals community, because still in many parts of India among various religious groups they are being oppressed, discriminate, and consider them as low caste, inferior, unclean and so on. Even in some Christian community they are oppressed by the higher caste people in the Church. So, in order to bring justice and peace to those people everyone should know that, we all are created by God in the likeness of His own image. This paper will attempt to bring about the concept of peace, reconciliation and conflict resolution in tribal tradition and Christian peacemaking.
Concept of Peace:
The Hebrew “shalom” designates not only the reduction of conflict but rightness, wholeness not only peace but justice. The same root is properly translated as liberation” or salvation. It denotes things as they should be and shall be in the divine purpose. This reality expresses itself in the harmonious interaction of the many ministries in the body (Eph. 4 and in Rom. 12 and 1 Cor. 12) and in formal procedures of conflict resolution (Matt. 18:15-17; 1 Cor. 6:56). Effective reconciliation is a real experience in the believing community, and its extension to the ends of the earth is a concrete social project. Gradually canon law and then academic theologians developed the “justifiable war” or “just war” tradition as a “concrete utopia”. The notion that wars could be evaluated in terms of authority, cause, intention, means, etc. projected the unrealistic hope that the violence of rulers might be restrained by respect for due process and the rights of the victim.
Concept of Reconciliation:
Reconciliation katallage in Greek is derived from the verb katallasso which means an “exchange” which when applied to persons, suggests an exchange from enmity to fellowship. It is a term indicating the change relationship for the better between person and group who formerly were at enmity with each other. It means restoration of friendly relationship and peace where there had previously been hostility and alienation. The restoration of a harmonious relationship between two parties the New Testament term, refers not often God’s restoration of his relationship with sinful humanity through Jesus Christ. But in the OT this restoration and relationships is express in terms of blood atonements.
Act of social Justice:
The word ‘justice’ is derived from the Latin word ‘Justus,’ which means the equality of being correct, impartiality, righteous, or right, fairness. The concept of Justice has its theological root that God is righteous and holy. This nature of God has become the basis of the Christian concept of Justice. The justice of God should be translated into all aspects of humans’ life. Societies often face problems because of social cultural changes. Social changed is a change in the patterned roles, or a change in the network of social relations, or a change in the society. There are three different categories of social justice:
The positive law theory and it defines justice as conformity to the law.
Social good theory which defines as doing what is right and what is wrong and the useful for the social good. The natural right theory, justice as natural rights, endowed to human being, which must be respected.
Suggestion of Christian as peace makers:
In order to realize God’s peace and justice on earth, we are called as Christians always and everywhere to be “servants of God” (Rom. 6:22) and “co-workers with God” (1Cor. 3:9) by being obedient to His will and by imitating the example of our Lord Jesus Christ.
Every Christian is expected to acknowledge experientially that each Christian is called to be a peace-maker and a worker for justice in his or her personal life. Also Christian men and women are to lead a life of humility and also to an ascetic approach to life, which prevents them from submission to such things as excessive consumerism, materialistic attitudes, and the greedy exploitation of others and the natural resources of earth. This perspective reminds Christians of the needs of other persons who are also created in the likeness of God.
Christian men and women must also have the courage to spell out the injustices which they see, even though this might require them to make personal sacrifices. After all, every Christian is called to identify his or her life with that of Christ, not only in the glory of the Resurrection, but also in his suffering.
The peace-making function of the church as community is undergirded theologically by the confession of Christ’s lordship, which refuses to let the rulers of the present world sacralize its oppressive and divisive structures. The primitive Jewish denunciation of idolatry unveils the pretensions of any who would claim the right to sacrifice lives to their causes.
The re-alignment which began in the 4th century abandoned the universality of the gospel vision in favour of an alliance of the bishops with the Roman Empire, yet it did promote a vision of peace in the earthly city. Constantine’s support for the churches was seen as prefiguring and furthering the kingdom of God. Augustine re-defined the peace of God as belonging in heaven or in the human heart. It no longer called for loving the enemies of the empire.
The adoption of the policy of reconciliation and peace is very important as some of the tribal areas are made non-regulatory areas. These areas were exempted from the operation of general laws. Special laws were also enacted to deal with some the tribal problems, and for protection of their interests for lands in special areas. Also adoption of the policy of non-interference with the ethnic customs, traditions and way of life may also be productive to promote shalomic environment.
Bass, Clarance B. “ Reconciliation” in The International Dictionary of Bible, Pictorial edition edited by J.D. Douglas and Meril C. Jenney. Grand Rapids, Michigan : Zondervan Publishing House, 1996.
Frank J. Matra, “Reconciliation” in Harper’s Bible Dictionary edited by Paul J. Achtemeir. Bangalore: Theological Publication in India, 1996.
Walter A Elwell and Philip W.Comfort (Eds), in Tyndale Bible Dictionary. Wheaton .Illinois: Tyndale House Publishers, 2001.
“Reconciliation” in The Eerdmans Bible Dictionary edited by Allen C. Myers (Grand Rapids, Michigan: William B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, 1987), 875.
- Thanzauva, Transforming Theology. Bangalore: Asian Trading Corporation, 2002.
Morris, L. “Reconciliation” in New Bible Dictionary Third Edition I.H Marshall & A.R. Millard et.al. Secunderabad: OM Books, 2000.
Neeti Mahanti, Tribal Issues – A Non- Conventional Approach (New Delhi: Inter-India Publication, 1994),19.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Peace_and_Truce_of_God accessed on 8.3.2014.
 Edward Viening, ed., “Peace”, The Zondervan Topical Bible, 748-749.
Just War (or Bellum iustum) is a doctrine of military ethics of Roman philosophical and Catholic origin, studied by moral theologians, ethicists and international policy makers, which holds that a conflict can and ought to meet the criteria of philosophical, religious or political justice, provided it follows certain conditions.
 L. Morris, “Reconciliation” in New Bible Dictionary Third Edition I.H Marshall & A.R. Millard et.al (Secunderabad: OM Books, 2000), 1002-1003.
 Clarance B.Bass, “ Reconciliation” in The International Dictionary of Bible, Pictorial edition edited by J.D. Douglas and Meril C. Jenney ( Grand Rapids, Michigan : Zondervan Publishing House, 1996), 849.
 Frank J. Matra, “Reconciliation” in Harper’s Bible Dictionary edited by Paul J. Achtemeir (Bangalore: Theological Publication in India, 1996), 856.
 Walter A Elwell and Philip W.Comfort (Eds), in Tyndale Bible Dictionary (Wheaton .Illinois: Tyndale House Publishers, 2001), 1113-1114.
 “Reconciliation” in The Eerdmans Bible Dictionary edited by Allen C. Myers (Grand Rapids, Michigan: William B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, 1987), 875.
 K. Thanzauva, Transforming Theology (Bangalore: Asian Trading Corporation, 2002), 120.
 K.Thanzauva, Transforming Theology (Bangalore: Asian Trading Corporation, 2002), 127.
 http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Peace_and_Truce_of_God accessed on 8.3.2014.
 Neeti Mahanti, Tribal Issues – A Non- Conventional Approach (New Delhi: Inter-India Publication, 1994), 19.