Sunday, April 26, 2015
I was in Thailand that very first year (Fall of 2000), living there and absorbing everything around me. You could say I was in a double honeymoon phase - in love with a fascinating, exotic woman and living in a fascinating, exotic city and country. It was a natural high x 1,000,000! One day I was checking my e-mail and I got a nice note from my aunt, who was teaching a Sunday School class at the First Baptist Church in Headland, Alabama. She shared that just recently in her class, Thailand was the focus country, and that Thailand and the Thais were in their prayers. She then said that in the literature they used in the class, it talked about how difficult it is for Thais to become Christians due to family and community pressures, which could lead to social alienation and the like. Therefore, you would have very few converts. She asked if it was true. My response was:
It very well could be. I don't know totally, because I am very new to this place. However, think about this for a second: Can you imagine someone in Headland, raised in a typical family to be a Christian and to attend church, coming home one day and announcing, with confidence, "Hey, I have thought about it and considered all my options. I want to become a Muslim. That's the path I want to follow." What kind of backlash and repercussions would they experience? You could even say, with something far less important, that in families where a certain football team is followed (say, Auburn), "converting" to an Alabama fan would be heresy, and would cause some negativity, at minimum. We saw this in my "blended family," where to survive, for some, independence and free choice had to be sacrificed at the Auburn altar. Otherwise, there would be no outward peace.