November 3, 2007

Thoughts - Mini-skirts, Mothers and Muslims

I re-borrowed this book from Felicity that I read ages ago.
Mini-Skirts, Mothers and Muslims by Christine Mallouhi is a book aimed at western Christian women wanting to reach out to Muslim women. Christine is a Christian, married to an Arab Christian and has lived many years in the Middle East.

In this book she shares many of the things she has learnt about the best way to reach out to Muslim women and explains the many cultural mistakes that Christians can make without realising that will put a wall up between them and the women they want to reach.

I wish I could explain how much I enjoy this book. Reading the stories of many different Christians working for God, and hearing both their mistakes and triumphs touches something deep inside. I can identify with Christine as she cringes at the many mistakes that people make thinking they are doing something good, when in fact they are hindering the gospel. How important it is for missionaries to do their research and not rush in blindly!

As a Missionary kid I have cringed myself at so many well meaning people making things harder for established missionaries, not that I or my family are blameless,I know we made many blunders.

I would recommend this book to anyone wanting to do cross cultural ministry, not just to Muslims. It raises many ideas about our western culture and how we are viewed by the world, not just by the Muslim world. It looks at the many thing we would not even think about that can create a stumbling block to our Lord.

Some of Christine's ideas may at times seem outrageous to some people (like her decision to veil in some countries) but she explains them with gentleness and humbleness, bringing us constantly back to the Bible.

I will be posting again about the issues she brings up that I found interesting.
Here's a few quotes to get you started (I could easily have 'quoted' the whole book, so much of it is so good!)

"In Egypt, I dressed in accordance with the hijaab requirements (long sleeve and head covering) and it opened the way for spiritual discussions with women" (p.28, 1997 edition)

"Egyptian friends in Cairo were very careful of their reputation. Whenever a male relative or couples visited, the husband always put in an appearance on their balcony to make sure neighbours knew he was home [and the wife not home alone with a strange man]. People are suspicious. We are naive." (p.41)

"The fact that people behave in a certain way or dress in a particular style, even when it's part of the society does not make it acceptable for us if we desire to present ourselves as God-fearing women." (p.37, my emphasis)


Jess said...

Goodness gracious! I can't believe you're reading this.

I finished this book not two months ago and was so moved and challenged by it that I wrote out a whole page worth of quotes that I keep on my fridge. WHAT a challenging book! Here's one quote that sticks out in my mind:

"If some component of our Western-ness, too precious to give up, blocks Muslims from hearing the Gospel, how will we defend ourselves on the final day? How important will this particular personal freedom seem in the bright light of eternity?"

The book is challenging precisely because it's not all wrapped up in the language of "rights" and "individual freedom". Instead, she expects us to hold to a MUCH higher standard... whoo! It's such a good book- I was so surprised to find this as your very first post today.

It's so fun to learn things alongside other people!

Erin said...

Yes, that quote is especially challenging, I was trying to find it last night but couldn't - really have to come up with a better system for saving quotes!

So happy to hear others have read the book and were challenged along with me!

Sara N. Smith said...

I just wanted to stop by and say
hello! It's wonderful to meet you through the "blogosphere"!!! :)
I took a peek at both of your blogs. What a wonderful have a blog to encourage younger ladies! What a great opportunity....what a blessing!
May the Lord continue to bless your ministry and give you your heart's desire!

EllaJac said...

Thanks for stopping by my blog the other day. And as for being barefoot at my wedding, it was great. How many brides end up with tired sore feet after the big day (I had worn terrible shoes as a bridesmaid and didn't want to visit that upon my wedding day!)? I even had tiny daisies painted on each of my toenails. Though it was an outdoor wedding in late spring. Might not work too good other times of the year!

This book sounds very interesting. I can't say that where I live is very diverse, but it is more so than it once was. I may need to find a copy and read up. Thank you!