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Tuesday, November 26, 2002

Just Another Martyr?-I haven't got a truly coherent comment on this Bonnie Penner story (the missionary killed in Lebanon a few days ago), for it has become commonplace to lose a missionary in a hostile environment. It becomes background noise in the news cycle-mobs kill a missionary in, where? India? Indonesia? Columbia? Mexico? It all starts to become minor attrition losses in a bigger fight. However, a lot of the coverage was blaming the victim; if she weren't pushing American-style Christianity, she'd still be alive. Evangelization asks people to consider rethinking their spiritual beliefs; in Lebanon, religion is often as much tribal as it is spiritual and changing religions effectively means dissing the other clans. That's dangerous, and violence can be the result. The evangelists, even if they are unarmed and friendly, are a threat to the old social order and can be expected to be attacked physically on a regular basis. The secular press doesn't quite understand why they would risk their lives and the lives of their converts to preach the Gospel. The reason is that they would be risking people's eternal lives if they didn't.

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