May 25, 2017

LET'S HEAR THE TRUTH (NO MATTER WHO TELLS IT!)

I need to rant today.
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One of my clients has written a fascinating memoir about her experiences as a missionary in the war-torn Middle East. Great story, great writing, interesting perspectives.
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As I shop this story around to publishers, the responses are mixed. Some comment that the author’s platform (name recognition) is weak. Others worry that the subject matter isn’t timely (even as the wars continue!). Almost everyone agrees that the writing is strong and the author’s style is engaging.
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Yet, there’s one response that I didn’t expect: Today, an editor expressed concern that the story is told in the voice of a white conservative American Christian. VERY politically incorrect these days. Yup, white American Christians already control most of the world, and they’re looking to take over the rest. (Witness the many American military engagements around the globe, as evidence.)
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Here’s the problem: I'd be just as happy to pitch this story from the viewpoint  of a Bulgarian Deist. Or a Nigerian animist. Great! But wait; they're not the ones doing this important work, so they can't write about it. I would love to hear the testimony of a Brazilian spiritualist, but he’s not there.
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American military leaders, and local governments, send out their censored reports that are edited through the lens of their respective biases. Then it goes through the filter of a largely liberal news media who decide what’s fit to print. By the time the news reaches our newspapers or TV screens, what’s left? Hard to say.
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Christian missionaries (many of them Americans) are out there, doing the work that others won’t. They’re on the ground in strategic places, bearing witnesses to history. If they have a perspective, it should be heard. If they saw something that the news media won’t report, we should listen. Not because they enjoy some special privileged status as Christians or as Americans. But because they were there. If nothing else, their firsthand accounts can hold our government leaders – and news media – accountable to tell the truth.
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My client did not volunteer to serve in a war zone, in order to prove that Jesus is good and Mohammed is bad. She didn’t write the book to show that Americans are better than Arabs. She did it because she felt a calling from God to feed the hungry and house the homeless. Regardless of whether her neighbors ever confessed Christ or submitted to baptism.
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We owe it to our children, to give them a genuine history of our time. This cannot happen, if we summarily dismiss the testimonies of people we don’t like. The need is real, and the Christians of the world are the ones leading the way.
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I can't see how that could be a bad thing.

3 comments:

  1. Thank you for your post! I happen to be one of the daughters of this author you're speaking of and so wish the world could hear her story. It's inspiring, moving and, like you said, needs to be told. Thank you for your hard work in trying to make that happen!

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