Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Sivin Kit's Garden: Letters to Christians in the U.S.A.

Sivin had an interesting post entitled Letters to Christians in the U.S.A. It's great to hear a voice other than our own.

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 fa├žade 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.

Reuben Liew
International Civil Worker in Malaysia

1 comment:

Sivin Kit said...

when you come, I will introduce you to the author :-)