Letters to the Editor

Letters: Discussing John Chau, ‘missionary myth’ and Pearl Harbor

Missionary life

The column by Melinda Henneberger (Nov. 30, 11A, “Christians in KC completely failed young missionary”) and a Dec. 1 letter (9A) cover the issues of the rule of law, health of the natives and the irresponsible adventurism in John Chau’s fatal missionary trip to North Sentinel Island.

I am from India, and I wrote to my brother who lives there. He sent me local news coverage about this episode. The most generous called Chau “misguided.” Others called him much less charitable names. This is the latest example of the “missionary myth” — a sense of Christian superiority over all other major religions of the world.

But there is another way to show the love of God.

My revered teachers, Paul and Margaret Brand, were physicians and missionaries from England. Philip Yancey wrote about them and their work in his book, “Soul Survivor.”

Yancey interviewed Sadan, one of the Brands’ leprosy patients. He said: “Still I must say that I am now happy that I had this disease.”

“Happy that you had leprosy?” (Yancey) asked, incredulously.

“Yes” replied Sadan. “Apart from leprosy, I would have been a normal man with a normal family chasing wealth and higher position in society. I would have never known such wonderful people as Dr. Paul and Dr. Margaret, and I would have never known the God who lives in them.”

The traditional Vedic term “namaste” means, “I recognize the divinity within you, and I respect you for that.”

Then that is our challenge: to live in such a way that the people around us will see the God within us, as in Matthew 5:16, and in the divinity in all our sisters and brothers.

Mani M. Mani


Memory banks

I so appreciate my Kansas City Star. I noticed that on Friday, only one of the paper’s comic strips, “Red and Rover,” referenced the significance of this fateful date: Dec. 7, 1941, when more than 2,400 Americans died at Pearl Harbor. (6B)

In the comic, the character Red states, “We can never forget.” Then his dog Rover follows with the comment and question: “We won’t — but what about people way off in the future?”

Have we become these “people of the future” who will remember Pearl Harbor Day and its significance?

Or are we too far removed in time, and already forgetting?

Angela Schieferecke

Prairie Village