A Review and Reflection of The Book that Made Your World
A Review and Reflection of The Book that Made Your World
Vishal Mangalwadi is the perfect person to describe the Western culture as an individual who understands Christianity coming from a region where other forms of religion reign. Offering an outsider point of view, Mangalwadi (2011) discusses culture and poverty in Chapter 2 Service: Or a Ticket to Jail. In a definition of his own life, the author tells of a culture shock he experienced coming from urban India to the rural areas of the nation. My analysis will focus on this chapter on service to humanity and how it connects to biblical teachings on service to God. Specifically, I will address how the Christian worldview on service changes cultural beliefs inculcated in other typical perspectives lie Hinduism and Buddhism. Ultimately, the bible teaches us to be selfless, to be considerate of others, and to show the love of Christ through our actions and service to humanity.
The cultural issue addressed in the chapter relates to the general outlook on life where the Bible is involved and where it is not. Mangalwadi (2011) is critical of the way rural India perceives life and how their perception of wealth and service differ from the rest of the developed India. The author presents just how dangerous it is to live outside of the villages where people are confined to a culture of togetherness and poverty. Rural Indians survived, at the time, on the rule of strength in numbers and similar living conditions. There is no incentive to improve. The focus is on conformity to the world surrounding an individual without real efforts to provide assistance to anyone or anything. Families bury their wealth because anything less would be seen as wastefulness. Consequently, the poverty mindset and culture that has stricken rural India is an economic stagnation and a prevailing attitude of being okay with poverty.
Jesus emphasized on doing his Father’s will. In the same line, envy, as evidenced by the dacoit bandits, seeks only to destroy the joy of others. Therefore, the Christian response to the cultural issue facing the rural Indians is to mold the faith and belief of others in service to God. The belief in God is a liberation from the oppressive faith that has held the minds and bodies of people for centuries. The faith that the rural Indian cultures subscribe to can be defined as vulnerable to victimization and exploitation. In comparing the faith of different regions in India, Mangalwadi (2011) notes how prosperous Kerala State is having a huge percentage of Christians and Christianity. The belief in God has changed the way people think in such areas, leading to less oppressive mindsets, reduced corruption, and a focus on pleasing God through service to other people. Jesus Christ compels Christians to seek out people whose livelihoods are not as the rest of the society. By helping others to have their grass become as green as the rest of the community, Christians are required to lead others to the belief in peace and love, to lead them to flourish as they are immersed in the love of God. In rural India, the prevalent faith promotes self-love for selfish and individual gains. The Christian response is a command of selfless love, through service to others for the greater good as to please God. From what I have learnt about Christianity, I believe it is the best fit for any given society, especially one plagued by a religion or faith that is oppressive and one that limits people to only think about themselves. Christianity demands more of Christ followers by focusing on the Son and seeing the heart of the Father. In essence, I find Christianity to have an outside-inward focus, one that demands people to be the best they can be to others and to themselves. Jesus Christ taught His followers to love their neighbors as they love themselves. This is the ultimate sacrifice and service to other people as it requires one to think of others before putting their interests first in all situations.
The interesting life and stories about Mangalwadi’s (2011) experiences in rural India define how service to others can lead one to trouble with authorities who are exposed only to oppressive worldviews. A prayer meeting with the intent to mold the faith of rural people to become better people, both in their culture and in their individual lives, led Mangalwadi to jail. His imprisonment turns into a blessing in a period of enforced meditation. It is a period that reveals the need to never underestimate the spiritual blindness of human rulers. I agree with the author’s perspective on service to humanity. I see it as the most fulfilling and a true service to God. It is not only a way to help others see the world differently but also enables them to understand why. The Christian response to the issue of changing worldviews is also refreshing. I agree with how the bible teaches us to put others first in a way that resembles Christianity. While this perspective is not always practical, it is applicable to any human life, lifestyle, or culture. The discussion challenged my own assumptions about being a true Christian. I always thought a personal relationship with God meant minding one’s own business. However, this chapter points to the complete opposite. It demands that we go further and beyond our individual selves to include other people, to help them in the best way to can by pointing them to the love of Christ.
Mangalwadi, V. (2011). The book that made your world: How the Bible created the soul of western civilization. Thomas Nelson.