This is the second of a series of blogs from Passion for Mission, which took place on the 8th June 2017 at All Souls, Langham Place. The theme was “God’s Mission in a Time of Transition. What is the role of the UK in mission today in a world that has changed so much and continues to change?” In this post I will be reflecting on words from Louisa Evans, one of the speakers, who told us of her own experiences.
In an Asian culture, there is a holistic view of Christianity. Family orientation in the global south means that once saved, the saved person will not stop praying for the family.
Louisa had to go to church secretly for two years because of parents (non-religious Buddhists). When she did tell them she had become a Christian she only went to church when they allowed her to. The freedom to worship is not appreciated here in the UK. One Malaysian man’s father tried to kill him in his sleep. In Malaysia, the word Allah is claimed for Muslims only. Christians cannot read the Bible in their own language because of this.One Christian pastor was kidnapped in broad daylight, and the police said that they had no information about what happened.
What should be our response?
We need to pray – but our assumption is that persecution is out there and not here. Can we continue to assume that? The opposition that we see is a reminder that this world is not our home and suffering for our faith is a reminder that we live in the end times.
Louisa also reflected on the fact that often, when we pray for persecuted Christians, we pray for ‘them’. Shouldn’t we think about the language we use when we pray for our brothers and sisters?
Friendship as a way forward
Friendship in mission is the only way forward. It’s true that Global South Christians were looked down upon. But now, some global south Christians have built up their own superiority.We need to acknowledge our mutual need of each other. We must move from a posture of learning from to learning with. This is only possible if we are friends, so we need to ask how we can build true cross-cultural friendships. We need to be intentional in the building of cross-cultural friendships.
Frequently, coffee breaks and meal tables at Christian events in the UK are segregated. To build cross-cultural friendships we need to do the uncomfortable thing of reaching out to those who are different to us, this that are from different cultures. Not just nationalities, but those of different statuses.
‘As I have loved you, so you must love one another.
By this, all will know that you are my disciples if you love one another.’
– John 13:35