Unfortunately, I was not faithful while blogging in Myanmar. The second week in the country I was without Internet connections, and during the third week, I found myself teaching several extra class sessions. I spent most of my energy getting ready for these class times. However, I have selected a few pictures that give brief windows into the country. On a later post, I will give an overview of my general reflections on my Myanmar experiences.
This picture above is of the only church in Bagan (and it is unofficial). Christianity is thriving in Myanmar, but it often thrives in the same way a single blade of grass does in the crack of a sidewalk. Because of my concern for all creatures great and small, I was taken by this smallest member of the church. As the writer and scholar Andrew Linzey reminds us, until we bring animals onto the agenda, and into our worship, we will continue to think of them only in utilitarian ways. When animals join us in worship, we are reminded that God is the creator, sustainer, and redeemer of all creation.
Pagodas everywhere. This picture was taken also in the city of Bagan. These pagodas represent only a small group of the thousands that dot this city. One is reminded by the pagodas, and by the ever present monks, that Myanmar is a Buddhist country. The population is roughly 94 % Buddhist and 6% Christian (and of that 6% almost half are Baptist). Needless to say, Christians are a minority in Myanmar. The Myanmar Institute of Theology in which I taught has a wonderful program called “The Judson Center.” Its purpose is for inter-religious dialogue between Christianity, Theravada Buddhism and primal religions. It seeks to foster understanding, peace and harmony between these different religious traditions.
The smile on this young child’s face captures the spirit of the people of Myanmar. I was the recipient many times of their gracious and giving hospitality.
Life is lived outside on the street, in the market place, and under the Bo trees. This picture captured for me the colorful world that is Myanmar.