Nation still in the healing process To the Editor
Guyana Chronicle
October 17, 2001

After reading Justin DeFrietas' response [ please note: link provided by LOSP web site ] (SN, October 15, 2001) to my letter lamenting his criticism of the Christian proactive practice of soul winning, it seems he truly is 'outraged' with Christianity and or he certainly does not grasp what truly constitutes Christian practices worldwide.

Against this backdrop, I find it difficult trying to respond to his individual charges and observations, yet as a Christian, I am obligated to have my communication be always "with grace, seasoned with salt, that I may know how I should answer every man" (Colossians 4: 6).

For the benefit of those who read Mr. DeFrietas' original letter and my response, it is not always wise to prolong an issue for the sake of venting one's feelings, especially when anger is the motivating factor.

I simply wanted to ensure he was not insinuating street protests as a means to elicit government's action against the Christian practice of soul winning (he said it was not his intention) and, at the same time, I wanted to provide needful balance to his serious charges against this decades old Christian practice (he obviously disagrees with my points).

Intelligent exchanges can immensely sharpen perspective and broaden knowledge base, but in his new letter, I do not see any new points germane to encouraging continuity.

To bring other readers up to speed, I did find as troubling, his remark (SN,10/10/01) about 'citizens burning tyres and ripping up the streets', perhaps out of anger and frustration with Christians indulging in soul winning.

Why? Guyana has just had some post-election violence and property destruction, supported by episodes of tyre-burnings, road-blockages, and vandalism to roads and potable water pipes. The last and least things a struggling economy needs. This nation is still in the healing process with the two main political parties tenuously engaged in dialogue on the way forward.

Now, because of one letter writer's claim about some Christians dumping Hindu icons into a drain, (which I flatly disagree with if the owners did not agree to it), he contends that the 'preachers should have been arrested'. How about an investigation, to begin with, to ascertain the facts before arriving at such a strongly worded conclusion? Lack of legal action, so far, may be a sign to consider.

Second, by stating the 'government continues to dilly-dally, there is no need to rectify this situation as yet -- after all, citizens are not yet burning tyres and ripping up the streets', what is the inference readers must draw here?

By the way, Mr. DeFrietas, I did not equate you with Osama Bin Laden, but I did wonder aloud, in writing, whether your tyre burning and street ripping reference, born of your own anger, was being subtly fed to or could have been interpreted by others who share your anger to realize your and their worst fears?

I always use biblical quotations to support my points on Christian subjects, akin to the methods used by lawyers when arguing a case in a court of law: find the law or its case precedent to support the current point in contention. My use of biblical verses is not to denigrate or condemn; however, if the scriptures say God disagrees with or condemns anything, all I can do is point that out from the open Book and let the hearer or reader decide thereafter how to respond.

Finally, I can assure Mr. DeFrietas I do not need to 'help my cause by debating fundamentalist logic in the press'. There are more than enough qualified and experienced Christian brethren in Guyana who can do an equally good or maybe better job at explaining our Christian faith and our world renown practices than I have so far attempted.

Oh, on his reference to me and 'my fellow Americans', I need to clarify that I am not an American (born or naturalized), but a Guyanese from McKenzie and, latterly Georgetown, so there is no sense of armchair lecturing on my part on the foregoing issues. However, I do have an abiding interest in Guyana's well-being, both physically and spiritually, hence my comments and views in the letters columns of Guyana's newspapers.
There is nothing personal intended and none taken!

Emile Mervin,
Brooklyn, New York