First you need to understand that I am an Indian lad.
And as a boy in India, I could never understand why that country which fills the space between the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans stood behind Pakistan, while that country which provided the shoulders on which the Arctic Circle sits stood behind India.
It seemed like the baddies were supporting us, the goodies, in India. I felt even more self-righteous whenever I crossed the border into Pakistan (which I once did a hundred times in 5 minutes as my brother and I jumped back and forth across the painted line) because they had much nicer cars and seemed so much more advanced.
Not any more...
I came home to New Zealand and opened the newspaper to discover Pakistan named at #10 in a list of "failed states" - behind Zimbabwe and Sudan and ahead of Burma and North Korea ... whatever "ahead" and "behind" actually mean.
I am still troubled by what I encountered in Pakistan. Maybe writing a post will help me process it further. Let me identify two scandals...
(a) How is it possible that the USA can pour billions of dollars into a country over the decades and it be listed as a 'failed state' in 2009? I don't understand this. Where has all this money gone? Sure - I know it is complicated with all sorts of political and social and economic factors...
But isn't part of the answer found in the fact that the money has more to do with protecting the interests of the USA than it has the interests of Pakistan? The Christian community in the USA should be up in arms about this, shouldn't they?
I felt so sad for Pakistan and Pakistanis - watching the world's only superpower and the world's most infamous terrorist organisation fighting a war on their own soil...
(b) I am still reeling from the revelation that in the entire Christian community in Pakistan - numbering maybe 8 million people ... that among the loosely and spaciously defined 'evangelicals' there is not one single Pakistani with a PhD in New Testament or Old Testament or Theology. WHAT?! Across the border there are dozens of Indians with such qualifications. How can there be absolutely no one in Pakistan?!
This may not sound so significant to some of you - but believe you me, if you gave me 60minutes I could draw the line from having the best PhDs in these areas through a healthy growing church and on to a nation building on and up from a 'failed' status. It takes a generation, but it can happen. God must look down from his heaven and shake his head with a bewildered sadness that some parts of his global church have so many PhDs they start arguing over silly minutae just to keep themselves fully occupied, while other parts are a biblical and theological wasteland.
Sorry - I am just really upset by this situation.
Here's to giving our lives to de-scandalising scandals like this one. I am going to give myself to (b). I hope there are others who will give themselves to (a).
We can make a difference. Go on - give up your small ambitions.