This week I’ve been following a bit of a heated conversation swirling around the not-at-all-controversial topics of feminism, faith, Biblical Submission and spousal abuse. It started when Mike Duran linked to a several-months-old article in Prodigal Magazine about Biblical Submission. If you want to necropsy the conversation you can head over to Mike’s and go from there. I’m not looking to rehash all that ground.
This morning I went over to the personal website of the author of the original article. Emily Wierenga is a Canada-based author of Christian articles and self-help books. For the first time all week I read about her background and saw that she is a Missionary Kid. Finding that out was like someone handing me the Rosetta Stone to this woman whose words have proven so divisive and hurtful.
Missionary Kids–also called Third Culture Kids–are the cousins to Preachers’ Kids. As a Mrs. PK I’ve written about the phenomenon of PKs before.
There’s something so infinitely sad about a child who has to compete with Almighty God for his father’s attention and love. There’s something so brave and lost about a child who learns early on that his behaviour AS A LITTLE BOY could affect his father’s livelihood…
Now add into all that angst the fact that your parents’ calling has landed you in a place where you are forever alone, no matter where you turn. You are not quite North American because you grew up in Peru. You’re also not quite Peruvian because your parents and household had North American cultural traditions and spoke English. You are your own culture in between, your third culture that belongs to you and maybe a sibling or two.
Being a TCK can be extremely awkward and unsettling, and just as Preachers’ Kids deal with their issues by being either rebellious or hyperconformative, so do TCKs. That’s why we end up with some people who feel comfortable imposing their interpretation of scripture upon strangers with the utter conviction that _they themselves cannot be wrong in any way_. After all, God was their dad’s boss. They got used to dad being the Authority On All Things Biblical when he and mom were the only Christian adults in the village. Conviction and authority are necessary tools for survival on the overseas mission fields; grow up in that kind of home and it’s not going to be a surprise when a person attempts to exercise that same conviction and authority over others. Sadly, though, the people of Peru revered Dad because he was the source of their knowledge about their new faith. It’s got to be a bit of a puzzle to be suddenly faced with people who have themselves grown up in deeply devout Christian homes, steeped in a Christian community. The MK are no longer The Authority. The MK is a fellow traveller.
I imagine for some with certain personality types that this is can be a bitter pill to swallow.