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Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Dear my American sisters, please be our godly examples!―an earnest and humble plea from your Asian sister

Some days ago, I replied to my friend Jessica and wrote to her as follows;

Some people say that North American ladies are immodest. But it is not true! And I always tell them so. There are sisters like you, striving to enter the narrow gate day and night. The fight must be harder there, but the reward is also greater! I cheer you up, my dear sister.

My own remarks, however, opened up my longstanding question which I could not find the answer so far. Now that I have many good North American friends out there, I’d like to share with you and honestly ask your thoughts and opinions.

Well, at first, please read the following paragraph;

The findings of the Barna Research Group are corroborated by the statistics of government agencies. For example, the rate of divorce in the Bible Belt is higher than in any other part of America, except for the state of Nevada. In fact, the divorce rate in the Bible Belt is significantly higher than it is in New England, where there are noticeably fewer fundamentalist Christians.*1
What's worse is that the divorce rate among American evangelicals is over 6 times as high as the divorce rate of China, over 18.5 times the divorce rate of Italy, and over 33 times as high as the divorce rate in Sri Lanka!*2 

I was so shocked and confused when I first read this. And then I became very sad. I could almost see the mocking and triumphant faces of people who are against our Christian faith, giggling and saying “where is their God?” (Ps 79:10).

"We have become a reproach to our neighbors, A scorn and derision to those who are around us"  (Ps 79:4).

And what makes me feel more troubled is that I have seen many obedient, peaceful pagan wives back in Japan. The area where I grew up, for example, was almost 0 % divorce rate and  0 % Christian rate.

I remember my neighbor’s wife very well because I saw her almost every morning on my way to go to elementary school. The door of the house opened and her husband appeared, approaching to his car. Behind him, I saw his wife following him silently and reverentially. When her husband got into his car, she proceeded to the pavement in front of the house. And then she bowed deeply (90 degree) in the middle of the pavement and kept this posture until his car turned the corner and disappeared completely from her sight. 

If strangers from other countries see this scene, they might think her husband is a prime minister or something, but in reality, he was a simple worker in the small company. But yes, he was treated and respected deeply like a king at home. And she had a high reputation as a good wife in our area. Amazing thing is that, she could do all these things without the power of the Holy Spirit.

Ladies, please don’t get me wrong. I am not elevating Japanese culture. By no means! Because I believe that Christ culture far exceeds all the earthly cultures. In front of Christ culture, the virtues of earthly culture are just shadows of the real substance and riches in Christ. And I believe that by the power of Holy Spirit, we sisters can be obedient and loving wives, which cause pagan wives to admire and to follow our examples.

So let’s go back to our theme. The statistics seem to indicate that some deplorable things are happening among Bible-believing American Christians right now. My question to you is this; why? I sincerely want to know the root cause of this issue. 

Do you know why this issue is important to me as well? Because no other Christians on this globe are as influential as the American Christians. You are very important. The rest of the worldboth secular and Christianis watching you with admiration.

If you compromise one thing in the Bible, the rest of the churches in the world will follow you sooner or later. If you wear immodestly in the church, the sisters in the rest of the world will start to do the same because they see you as their examples. Your conducts and attitudes as Christian sisters are thus vitally important for sisters in Asia, Africa and the rest of the world. 

Our dear American sisters, please be our godly examples! I am entreating this from the obscure corner of this earth. My American ladies, please win the battle for us! (Eph 6:10-17)  Please glorify Him by your holy and obedient life!

When John Winthrop, a puritan leader arrived at Salem Harbor in 1630, he gave a sermon and said, “We must consider that we shall be as a city upon a hill. The eyes of all people are upon us.” Yes, my sisters, you are a city upon a hill and the eyes of all people are upon you.



I really want to cheer you up as your fellow pilgrim. I will close this post with the third stanza of Martin Luther’s hymn, A Mighty Fortress (1529).

And tho’ this world, with devils filled, Should threaten to undo us;
We will not fear, for God hath willed His truth to triumph through us.
The prince of darkness grim, We tremble not for him; His rage we can endure, 
For lo! His doom is sure, One little word shall fell him. Amen.

*1.Kingdom That Turned The World Upside Down, p56, Source: National Center for Health Statistics at http://www.divorcemag.com/statistics/statsUS2.shtml.
*2.Ibid. p 57, http://www.divorcereform.org/nonus.html.

5 comments:

  1. Kinuko,
    (I don't know whether my previous comment went through, so I'm rewriting it here.)
    Here are my observations:
    First of all, the researchers who are conducting the divorce studies may not differentiate between those who loosely refer to themselves as "Christian," and those who are actual, born-again believers. For example, some people know that they are not Muslim, nor Hindu, nor atheist... So they apply the term "Christian" to themselves for lack of a better definition. This makes it look like true Christians are included in those high statistics, when in fact, their numbers may be much smaller.
    Second of all, North American culture is very strong here, and it's hard to resist its influence. Sin is trivialized everywhere one goes: TV, movies, internet, radio, ads, etc... It takes a strong, decided effort to stand against the tide of the culture. If Christians are not spending time reading the Bible and praying, they will eventually fall into the culture trap. Then they start doing things like the rest of the world, reinterpreting the Bible based on their experiences. Cohabitation is very strong here, as well as divorce, as you reference. I've know of Christians who rationalized adultery. Very, very sad. But it's because they listen to the lies of our godless culture, which is controlled by the god of this age, Satan. We must all join together in prayer regarding this SPIRITUAL war.
    However, I do know some men and women who are truly seeking to honor God, among whom is yourself, and I thank God for all of you.
    Keep up the good work!
    Your friend,
    Jessica

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    Replies
    1. Jessica, thank you so much for your observation. It has been in my heart to ask American sisters’ thoughts and opinions about these issues and I am so grateful that you responded to me faithfully.

      Yes, you are right. Categorization of religion is not 100% trustworthy because nobody knows the real faith or the motives of others in their hearts. And I learned from your observation that there is a strong cultural influence in North America. Thank you for sharing this with me, Jessica.

      It comes to me as a real and urgent issue when I actually hear from a sister who is living there, and it drives me to pray for you and other sisters there with much more affection and sympathy. Whenever you have some observations or you discover something, please do share with me and with us!

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  2. Hello Kinuko,
    Thank you so much for your blog, and your love for fellow Sisters in Christ.
    I have been a Christian for many years. It has just been the past five years that I have worn a head covering. Through the years when I did not wear a head covering I dressed modestly sometimes and sometimes I did not, to my shame.
    It is true as Jessica has said that there is a huge cultural influence from the media of movies, TV and music. It is sad.
    What has been very sad is that a lot of the Church in North America is asleep , they have been lulled to sleep by the subtle and not so subtle influences of the world.
    I think at one point they were afraid to go out and witness, so instead they tried to be "cool" and acceptable by the world so the world might accept Jesus Christ and come to their Churches. But of course it has had a very negative effect on the Church.
    They had forgotten that the Apostles and Early Church was not trying to get people to like them , but they loved Jesus and were witnesses for Jesus, willing to die for Him.
    As for the divorce rate, that is very sad. My question though would be for you and Japanese culture. It is wonderful that a woman can obey her husband, it is sad she does not know Jesus. My question is does her husband love her? Yes Christian wives are to submit to their husbands, but Christian husbands are to love their wives as Christ loved the Church.
    I know there are groups of believers where wifely submission is taught, but then the part about husbands loving his wife is not taught, just the husband being head is taught.
    I do know some people who have stayed married in theory , but they lived in two separate spaces in their homes. That is not a true marriage, but they did not believe in divorce. I do not know which is worse... divorce or this false show of marriage. In both situations their hearts are hardened to each other.
    Thank you so much for your prayers , we desperately need them!
    I too have seen the negative effect "Christians" of the West have had on Christians from other countries. We have much to repent of!
    One thing to remember though is USA and Canada are not Christian nations. They may have been founded on some Christian principles, but there has never been a time when all of the people in these nations were real Christians.

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  3. Dear Wanda, nice to meet you! I was so glad to read your kind and thoughtful comment. So we are both sisters in Christ AND head covering friends! One of the spiritual blessings of head covering for me is this sweet intimacy among us. We are drawn to each other and understand each other even without verbal explanations.

    Well, Wanda, regarding the question about the love from the husband's side in Japan, I personally observe that it does not really satisfy the hearts of many wives. Recently, one elderly lady in Japan wrote to me, saying she wishes that retired husbands would show more affection to wives. I see that without Christ, there is no real peace, love or unity between two humans.

    Regarding the modern church issues which you wisely mentioned, I have also witnessed that "seeker-sensitive" approach is doing much harm to the Body of Christ. I personally think this kind of approach is a sign of disrespect to the sincere truth-seekers who are eager to see the bare truth.

    Last week, one serious seeker from Central Asia came back from one church and lamented;
    "Oh, I could not believe my eyes! After the service, young men and women started dancing in the church. Of course, I also want to taste joy of Christ but not this kind! If I want to dance, I would go to disco. If I want to exercise, I would go to sports gym. I go to church because I really want to know who God is."

    About the Christian nation; I totally agree with you. There is no such thing as "Christian nation". Jesus' nation (the Kingdom of God) is not of the world and we cannot mix them up. This Kingdom does exist but it does not have physical/geographical sphere.

    Thank you so much, Wanda!! with love, from your fellow sister, Kinuko

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  4. Thank you Kinuko! Nice to meet you too! :)

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