Friday, May 06, 2005

Prison Practices

I was driving down a dusty road in the bush of Kenya several years back with a visiting pastor from the states. Suddenly he yelled, “Stop the car! Back up!"

Instincts made me slam down the brake and when I got the truck stopped I asked what was up?

“There’s some naked tribesman taking a bath in a mud hole back there. I want to take a picture.”

Disgusted, I put the truck in first and stepped on the gas.

“Hey, Lewis, what’s wrong? Why aren’t you backing up?”

“How would you like for someone to barge into your bathroom and take a picture of you taking a shower,” I asked?

“American tourists,” I thought to myself. “They seem to only want to take pictures of the destitute, crippled or naked.”

I thought about that incident before I submitted this blog. India is a fascinating country and if you’ve been reading the news at all you know it’s one of the hottest economies in the world. However, all cultures have a dark side. I don’t want to take only unflattering pictures of this sub-continent, but here are a couple of items that caught my eye in the newspapers this past week.


“Police sources report the 200th suicide for 2005. The unofficial figure is closer to 400. Welcome to Delhi, India’s crime capital – and on it’s way to becoming its suicide capital too.”

The article goes on to say that most of the suicides are those in the 15 – 29 age group, mostly from the middle class.


“It’s an open secret that many nursing homes in the Capital illegally provide prospective parents with sex-determination tests. This has contributed to the skewed female-male sex ratio in the Capital – put at 878 females per 1,000 males by the 2001 census.”

The reason for foeticide is because of the dowry system, where the family of the bride pays the family of the groom at marriage. It’s a heavy burden on a family that has daughters but no sons. Every day in India there are reports of dowry disputes, beatings and even killings of wives whose family has not paid dowry.

All cultures are, as my friend Sherwood Lingenfelter of Fuller Seminary says, are a prison of disobedience. In a country of 330 million gods, the one that is prayed to more often is the god of prosperity. The middle class becomes despondent because they fear their future; they eliminate those in society that could cause financial setbacks.

Pray for India. It can’t, nor can America, save itself. The Gospel is the only real hope.