Thursday, January 4, 2007

Peace Child

"Peace Child" by Don Richardson recalls the missionary exploits to the Sawi people of New Guinea. As recently as the 1960's, the Sawi were basically untouched by the Western world. They were a violent and cannibalistic people. Betrayal was held as the highest virtue in the culture and the stories that were passed down were stories of deceit and trickery. "Fattening someone with friendship" was the recurring story where one Sawi would fake friendship with another in order to make a murder more deceitful. When Don Richardson began to share the story of Jesus, the Sawi believed that Judas was a hero for his actions.

There was, however, one thing embedded within the culture that could stop the cycle of violence and betrayal - a tarop or peace child. In this scenario, one Sawi would give his own child (his most important possession) to be raised by another Sawi and vice versa. As long as the Peace Child remained alive, the two different tribes would be at peace with one another. You can easily see how the missionaries used the concept of the tarop to explain the good news of Christ.

Peace Child was an entertaining book that provided a window into sharing the story of Christ in a foreign environment. It certainly challenged me to seek redemptive analogies from my culture as a way of sharing the story. God is already present in this world, we just need to reveal this to others.

1 comment:

Erik said...

Your a reading machine!

This book sounds pretty good. I like the idea you pulled out of that. We do need to find stories in our culture that convey the message we know. There were Rabbi's (so i hear) that were masters at this. They could point out culture ideas or symbols and turn them into spiritual metaphor. Maybe we need some more Rabbi's like this in our day!