November 01, 2006

Letters to Christians in the U.S.A.

Thanks Brian McLaren for initiating this effort. It's great to hear one Malaysian voice creating some vibrations here. I thought it would be good to pick out the "Letter from Malaysia" and highlight it here. Every time I'm off overseas for a trip or am part of some international conference, My Malaysian consciousness gets heightened :-) Thanks Reuben for being one of the first to respond.

_______________________________________________________________________

Letter from Malaysia
Dear Brothers and Sisters in North America,

We know that your country, the United States, is one of the most
exceptional, resource rich,
lands-flowing-with-milk-and-honey of our
present day. When the world looks at America today however, it
immediately, wrongly and rightly, perceives of disproportionality, in
terms of political clout, air-time, military force, or even basic
things you take for granted, like opportunity- compared to the rest of
the world. Some are legitimate woes, brought about by the workings of
a system of national and international economic and political
governance that treads on the rights of the poor. But some are
woefully inaccurate, as one need only to look at the situation in your
Deep South and elsewhere to see the unequal balance still existing
between the different peoples and races within your country, as well
as the tremendous resilience, at least on the rhetorical level, of
attempting to right some very grave historical wrongs.

But our plea, at the present time, from the rest of the world, is that
you look beyond your borders, and we don't just mean your physical,
geographical ones. Look beyond your borders of class, of race, of
creed, of political opinion, of your own little townships and hamlets,
of your cities and corporations, beyond your façade of high-school,
college, and grad-school, beyond your spiritual myopia, into a reality
that you and the rest of the world face. Look towards the destitute,
the defenseless, the millions going to a certain death because of war,
poverty, disease, and the tens-of-millions already living a crushing
mortality through the grind of their mere daily existence. Look
towards a world and environment that has witnessed savage brutality.
Think of yourselves as citizens of the world, as we are- who groan, as
you do, for the righting of wrongs. Make these things, the concerns of
the world, your concerns as well. And live it.

Look beyond the introverted world of media and glossy magazines,
towards the bleak, stark faces of the world looking back at you. Stand
from a viewpoint removed from where you usually stand- detach yourself
from your pedestal, destroy it, and attempt to gaze back at the world
as it truly is. Growing up in any strong, overriding culture carries
with it a certain habit of under-appreciating the viewpoint of the
other, or worse, dressing these opinions around your own. You will
realize that the rest of the world understands you better than you
understand it, due to your central, prevailing position- so be humble
as you speak.

You have much to teach the world and much to give. But we long to see
you, brothers and sisters, as that— beloved siblings, but on the same
level playing field. Not above us in terms of a self-perpetuating
aggrandizement, but as equals, who hold the keys to each other's
mutual enrichment, fulfillment, and leadership in the many shared
arenas of our common lives. The world does not like to be bullied,
have its name sullied, or have causes dropped when their time in the
limelight has passed over. So treat us and the problems of the world
with honesty, integrity, and we'll protect your names as well. We want
to stand by you as brothers and sisters, fighting the battles that
matter, on the same turf, for the same reasons. That is, as our wish
is for the rest of the world, our hope in these perilous times.

Sincerely,
Reuben Liew
International Civil Worker in Malaysia
____________________________________________________________________

Posted by sivinkit at November 1, 2006 12:52 AM
Comments

Wow. That's powerful Sivin. Can I quote it on my blog?

Posted by: Ryan Sharp at November 1, 2006 06:23 AM

Ryan, I think it was indeed a heartfelt piece. I hope to encourage more people here (many of them who are quiet and hidden) to voice out what's inside them. Sure you can quote him. It's already on my blog and Brian's site :-) I'm sending you his contact for you guys to link up!

Posted by: Sivin at November 1, 2006 07:46 AM

Hie Pastor Sivin,
Can I post this letter on my blog too? Coz I have a bunch of American friends :)

Sincerely,
Adelynne

P.S. Btw, I was in the WORDilicious Investigators conference and heard you speak. Thanks for the exposition, Pastor Sivin!

Posted by: Adelynne at November 1, 2006 01:31 PM

HI there .. Adelynne ... if it's on my blog and Brian's site .. it's link-able!

Posted by: Sivin at November 1, 2006 03:05 PM

Sivn,

Thank you for posting this gracious letter.

Posted by: Will at November 1, 2006 07:25 PM
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