In May 1998, John Joseph, the first native Pakistani Catholic bishop, shot himself in front of the courthouse where a Christian had been sentenced to death for blasphemy. This book tells the story of the Christians in Pakistan, with Bishop Joseph as its centrepiece. It is an account of outcastes who sought hope through Christianity, but who now find themselves victims of a struggle to define Islam in Pakistan. The majority of Pakistani Christians are descendants of untouchables converted to Christianity in the late 19th century. In Pakistan a minority religion is linked with low status, perpetuating the Indian Hindu caste system even though the Muslim majority has disassociated itself from all things Hindu and Indian. The book also deals with enculturation in the Pakistani church, the rise of native clergy, conflicts between the local church and Rome, the rise of 'fundamentalist' Islam and the position of women in society and church.
'Through this book, Linda Walbridge does more than analyze social and religious questions - she brings the reader into the very heart of a community that is struggling for justice and puts a human face on urgent questions of interreligious relations that are dear to Muslims and Christians alike.' - Bulletin of the Royal Institute for Inter-Faith Studies
'I know of no other book which so well describes the plight of the Christians, Catholics and Protestants alike, in present day Pakistan.' - Islam and Christians - Muslim Relations
Part 1: From Exodus to Bondage
Part 2: The World of the Bishop