I Want a Nation: Australia and Oceania

Our last installment will be for all those incredible little islands in the South Pacific. Australia is the official continent, but Oceania will include all the people groups in the islands in the Pacific Ocean.

I’ve had the chance to visit Australia and New Zealand and there’s an incredible culture that is a clash of both the familiar and foreign. The Maori people of New Zealand for example are incredible warriors. The haka or tribal war dance is performed by New Zealand’s professional rugby team the All Blacks. Using mere intimidation, the warriors prove their fortitude by stomping, yelling and fierce body language.

The people I’ve met also have a beautiful expression of intimacy. Individuals in close relationship will put their foreheads together as a greeting and exchange breath. Literally inhaling what you’ve exhaled as a way to say “what is inside you I receive inside me.”

Australia was actually used by Britain as a veritable prison on the other side of the world. It was populated by the criminals of society who lived alongside the indigenous Aboriginal people and established a society that was tenuous at best.

The island nations have been populated by many European explorers and there is a wide mixture of cultures in the island nations. However it’s a place of cohabitation.

Australia – unknown southern land Fiji – home of the lookouts

Kiribati – trusted, bright son Marshall Islands – steward or caretaker of the horses

Micronesia – small islands Nauru – “I go to the beach.”

New Zealand – land of the long white cloud; sea land

Palau – indirect replies Papua New Guinea – frizzy hair, burnt or blackened

Samoa – holy center Solomon Islands – peaceable, perfect, one who recompenses

Tonga – southern, friendly islands Tuvalu – eight standing with one another

Vanuatu – our land

DISTANT SHORES AND THE ISLAND WILL SEE YOUR LIGHT AS IT RISES ON US!

May you be peaceful and unified! You are welcome to show us your beauty and use your voice to call the world to discovery and peace!

I Want a Nation: Asia

We’re in the home stretch here. I’ve held off on Asia because of a couple different reasons, the first is that Asia intrigues me more than just about any other continent, and second, because it’s absolutely huge. The variety of dominant cultures contained within the continent of Asia is more dramatic than just about anywhere on earth.

The middle eastern, soviet, Indian, and mosaic of oriental cultures notwithstanding, the variety of dominant religious hubs is among the most pronounced of anywhere else. Three of the world’s most popular religions call Asia their home. Hinduism, Islam and Buddhism all have their roots planted firmly in this area of the world and cultures in Asia have their distinction as much from their preferences and tastes as they do from their religions (or lack thereof when considering the strong atheistic stance some countries take).

Asia

muddy or silty, rising light of the East, resurrection

It’s marvelous to consider how a clash of such dominant cultures exist side by side and share a prophetic name. As with all the continent’s we’ve looked at, there are a variety of opinions about how and why the continent received its name. “Muddy” is a strong picture and could be descriptive on a number of levels.

In considering the Buddhism of eastern Asia for example, differing countries have differing stances on Buddhist doctrine. It plays out in the mixtures of these religions with common folk religions and superstitions. However, I believe a case can be made that the inhabitants of Asia, regardless of their religious affinity, understand the idea of devotion. Nowhere have I found such contrition and sincerity than those who practice Islam, Hinduism or Buddhism. It has been a convicting journey as I consider the sacrifices and disciplines I employ for my own religious stances.

And yet, written in the name is another meaning. Long has Asia been referred to as “the East.” It’s even said in Luke 2 that “kings from the East” followed a star which led them to Bethlehem. The rising light of the sun is the promise of a new day, a “resurrection” even. As we look at the diversity of beliefs, we can stand on one promise: there is a dawning light in Asia.

ASIA! WE CALL TO YOU AS CHRIST DID TO LAZARUS! COME FORTH!

Forsake your ways and commit your sincere, contrite hearts to the one true God. The Creator has a desire for intimacy with you. Live no longer as slaves. CLEAR THE MUDDY WATERS and walk forth clean and unblemished. From the middle east to the frozen north to the far orient BE RESURRECTED and show us all what new life truly means!

Afghanistan – land of the Afghans Armenia – assemble or create

Azerbaijan – land protected by the pagan holy fire Bahrain – the two seas

Bangladesh – land of the sun god Bhutan – highlands, land of the thunder dragon

Brunei – “there!” Burma/Myanmar – fast, tough, strong China – land of silk

Cambodia – weak, the least, unshaken East Timor – east island Georgia – tiller of the land

India – region of the Indus river Indonesia – east Indian islands

Iran – home of the free Iraq – land between the rivers Jordan – descend

Israel – land of the people who struggle with God Japan – land of the rising sun

Kazakhstan – independent-rebellious-wanderer-brave-free

Korea (North/South) – lofty, walled city, center Kuwait – fortress built near water

Kyrgyzstan – land of 40 tribes Laos – land of a million elephants, son of a pagan god

Lebanon – white, milk Malaysia – hill town Maldives – palace islands, garland

Mongolia – eternal fire Nepal – those who domesticate cattle

Oman – settled man Pakistan – (an acronym of the 8 major people groups of the area)

Philippines – land of King Philip (lover of horses) Qatar – port

Russia – land of the rowers Saudi Arabia – empire of the constellations Singapore – lion city

Sri Lanka – holy island Taiwan – terraced bay Tajikistan – leopard or tiger

Thailand – land of the humans Turkmenistan – land of the Turk-like people

Uzbekistan – home of the free Vietnam – south Viet Yemen – right hand