Thursday, November 29, 2012

Miniskirts, Mothers & Muslims

Christians need to make major adjustments in their ideas of what living in a foreign culture for Christ means.  It's not too long before they realize they need to learn a lot from those they came to teach. We must be guests before we can be hosts.

When we try to live according to local customs it can be difficult.  But I believe there is a way to transform these restrictions into spiritual gain.  By voluntarily submitting to the same rigid restrictions that our Muslim friends live under, Christians can walk in their shoes.  Though we were brought up differently, we can choose to try to take in their point of view and live in their world... Now that doesn't mean we should and condone the way they had to kill their wives or their daughters for honor.  It's seeing how highly they view family honor to the point of sacrificing their own family. 

Their society, as described by their author, is not much different from ours (Filipinos).  They put a high price on family and neighborly treatment.  Here in America as I have experienced, you hardly know your neighbors.  Whereas back home, you swap stories, kitchen utensils and even food pantry items with each other.  They also believe in the value of being indebted to another for a favor done to them (Utang na loob).  They also live on that familial romanticism of parents taking care of the children, and having it reversed as they grow older, to the point that the individual is not only working for himself and his immediate family, but also includes the extended family as well.  For this reason we (and Arabs) often see Westerners as selfish because they are only looking after their own interests. 

Do not expect that this book will give you advise on how to share faith with the Muslims, nor does this book illustrate how to explain the Trinity, or Jesus being the "Son of God".  It simply says that as Christians, we should embody His message.  Live by example.  The golden rule of loving others as you love yourself and treat them how you want to be treated.  In turn, our Muslim brothers may say 'hey, they're not as bad as we thought they were' and vice versa. 

I believe there is a lot we can learn from each other.  From the Muslims, the value of propriety and obedience to God, or at least their devotion of setting time for prayer to Allah.  From the Christians, the price of grace, forgiveness, mercy, and the peace which can only be found in Christ. 


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