Work, Globalization, Materialism, Migration, Politics, Sex, HIV, Dalit Christians, Dirt and Immigrants. Have you discussed any of these subjects recently in your home or in your Bible study group? Shibu K Mathew, the editor of Ethne mission magazine published from Bangalore reviews the book- Should We Care? Contemporary Concerns for Indian Christians.
Should We Care? Contemporary Concerns for Indian Christians.
Editor: Cherian Thomas
Work, Globalization, Materialism, Migration, Politics, Sex, HIV, Dalit Christians, Dirt and Immigrants. Have you discussed any of these subjects recently in your home or in your Bible study group? Many people believe that these are “worldly issues” and they don’t belong in the circle of discussions among Christians. Evangelical Christians have always had trouble engaging with the world.
If you want the biblical reasons why we should be concerned about such issues as Christians, then read New Issues Facing Christians Today by John Stott published in India by GLS, Bombay.If you are convinced that we should respond to the “worldly issues” around us, then your question may be where should I start? For such people, this new book Should I care? brings out relevant concerns for Indian Christians. This book is by a group of “lay people” who are professionals.
In 12 chapters, it looks at twelve issues through a Christian worldview and gives practical suggestions. All of the sections are illustrated with case studies and stories to highlight the problems. This book highlights only a few issues, but sequels will follow that address other issues.The book categorizes various issues into three groups economic, sociological, and political. Economics controls every aspect of our lives, so the first section looks at work, money, lifestyle, the impact of globalization and migration for economic reasons.
In a globalised economy, work takes preference over other aspects of life, so we are advised to have a right biblical understanding of work and the need for a balance between life and work. In a growing consumerist society, can we spend all the money we earn for “luxurious” living? The author challenges us to “constantly figure out what is a legitimate need and what is a frivolous want.”
The second section on political concerns raises issues such as patriotism, nationalism, politics and religious freedom. The writer suggests that as Christians, “We need to be faithful to God in all three domains: local, national and global, without neglecting one for the other two.”
The third section deals with many sociological issues. Are we disturbed by the filth, dirt and garbage on our roads and surroundings? The writer points out that we should be equally concerned about our personal holiness and our surroundings. God created everything good and we as stewards should maintain it well.
Another growing problem in our country is HIV/AIDS. The author calls the church to provide hope, compassion and acceptance rather than pronouncing judgment on the afflicted. In the context of HIV/AIDS, the subject of sex deserves importance. So in Chapter 8, No Sex Please, we are Christians deals with the issue of sex and sexuality. As a psychiatrist, the author deal with connected issues of homosexuality, premarital and extramarital sex and gives biblical insights.
After reading this book, rather than asking: Should I care? we are encouraged to ask: How can I care? Since God is concerned about these issues, every Christian Indian should be concerned about these issues and do whatever they can. As a first step, buy, read and discuss this book.
Details of the authors
· Shantanu Dutta (3 chapters) a doctor by training and a development professional, New Delhi.
· Jamila Koshy (3 chapters), a psychiatrist, and Cherian Thomas (3 chapters), a company executive, based in New Delhi.
· Daiva Varam (1 chapter) is a pen name of a young husband, father and teacher.
· Dr. Bonnie Miriam Jacob (1 chapter), research consultant with EFICOR, New Delhi.
· Ratnaker Bhengra (1 chapter), a lawyer and human rights activist based at Ranchi.
Editor of the book, Cherian Thomas is Senior Director, Advisory for IDFC.