A journalist made a bizarre segue Monday when he posted an article about the Sri Lanka church terror attacks and then launched into a verbal attack of his own against foreign mission workers.
Andy West, a journalist-turned-reality TV star, opened his tirade with the ominous line: “There is no excuse for terror attacks against innocent people but..”
He then went on to recall his experience of seeing “Western Christian missionaries unscrupulously converting Buddhist orphans for food and shelter after the Asian tsunami.” He gave no evidence for the wild claim before quipping, “don’t send your prayers.”
Odd timing for an anti-Christian attack
I’m not sure of Mr. West’s alleged experience with Christian missionaries, but it does strike me as extremely distasteful, if not fundamentally bizarre, that he would choose to launch into a tirade of personal grievances about missiology off the back of one of the most bloody atrocities committed against the Christian community in recent memory.
In addition, West makes no attempt to substantiate his claims that missionaries prey mercilessly on the poor and swindle some sort of “food for conversion” operation that would put even the most heinous fraudster to shame.
Missionaries are incredible
My personal experience with missionaries, whether it is the hard-working, compassionate and sacrificial workers sent out from my small local church, or those commissioned by larger organizations, is that they are some of the most wonderfully Jesus-like people on the planet.
In addition, there are thousands of Spirit-filled mission workers who sacrifice their personal income and comfortable lives to live in various impoverished and disease-ridden corners of the earth — and why? For the love of their neighbor. Nothing more, nothing less.
In his tirade, West argued that missionaries are known to “press one religion onto another by brainwashing desperate children,” calling this “a Western tradition that only leads to misery.”
Again, I don’t know what his sources are, but I can tell you that from my own encounters with those engaging in foreign mission, this is unequivocally untrue.
“Love each other as I have loved you”
See, many ministry organizations, while Christian, do not actively “evangelize” those who they have been called to serve. Instead, they love them unconditionally, as this is the type of unfathomable affection that God has shown to them through Christ Jesus.
That, Mr. West, is a wonderful and glorious thing that should never be unfairly criticized or smeared.
In fact, many of the world’s leading charitable organizations have religious origins, though they are not overtly religious or evangelistic in their activities. World Vision is a great example. Very, very few groups with any sort of global-reaching influence adhere to a sort of militant or “no-nonsense” evangelism that neglects the holistic call to love and care for the other.
So, though West’s raging against those who do their good works in the name of Jesus might be unfair, ill-advised and frankly unpleasant, let us not respond in anger. Let us instead pray for all those who have given up so much to become the hands and feet of Christ to those in need.