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February 05, 2005

Losing Jesus' Language

Christian History & Biography, a Christianity Today publication, has an interesting interview with Dr. Eden Naby, an Assyrian woman, on the experiences of Assyrian Christians in the Middle East, particularly in Iraq. Theirs is a history of brutal oppression and exile. Despite all that, Assyrians work hard to maintain family and community:

The basic connection is family. People in our community, as in most Middle Eastern communities, remain closely connected to extended family. When people immigrate from Iraq or Syria, part of the family stays behind. This is a plus and minus because when you have your great uncle still living in Baghdad you're very careful about what you say about Saddam Hussein or anyone who could turn around and harm your people.
The second connection is through religious organizations or cultural institutions.

What is sad to me is that, in this country, in which we have freedom and general economic prosperity, both family and community have been given short shrift in the exultation of the almighty individual. As we continue to witness the wholesale project to sever those ties that for millennia have served to nourish and strengthen the lives of men and women, we would do well to learn a lesson from those who have faced terror and oppression on a daily basis: when times are tough, people need strong families and a strong local community for sustenance.

Posted by Mark at February 5, 2005 08:18 AM

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Amen to your thoughts. We're so cut off from each other. The last group of people in America who were true community was the post WWII generation. After that, television became the cutlural pacifer and great civic divider.

Posted by: john at February 5, 2005 07:37 PM

Yes, that is true. I sometimes wonder, though (and dare I say it?) if the internet also serves the same purpose?

Posted by: Mark Sides at February 5, 2005 10:01 PM