The other day it occurred to me that it had been a while since I checked for new reviews for the Missionary Max books on Amazon. Turns out, there was indeed a new one for Missionary Max and the Lost City, and it’s…well…um…take a look:
How is this written in this century let alone this decade? From the white savior narrative of Missionary Max coming to save the helpless natives, to the ‘bloodthirsty indigenous tribe’ to the ‘jungle princess’, I don’t even know where to begin on how inappropriate this book is. Suddenly, I’ve been transported back to a time when wild, inaccurate (and racist) stereotyping was the golden age of literature. A massive swing and a miss.
Now I had long since decided to not let myself get worked up over negative reviews (fortunately, most of the reviewers have been very kind), but this one is truly spectacular and deserves its own blog post. I want to point out a few aspects of it that I believe reflect more negatively on the age we live in than they do on everybody’s favorite fictional missionary hero.
The White Savior Narrative
In the books, Maxwell Sherman – aka Missionary Max – is indeed a white man. And the people he ministers to are in many cases (though by no means exclusively) people of color. But (and I cannot emphasize this enough) Missionary Max is not the savior in the story, any more than I or any of my real-life missionary colleagues are the savior to the people we minister to. Missionaries, whatever our cultural and ethnic background, point people to Jesus Christ. If anything, you could say we spread a “Jewish Savior narrative.”
It’s worth noting that the term “white savior” as it applies to missionaries is not new, and is usually bandied about by leftists who also want nothing to do with the Jewish Savior.
Bloodthirsty Indigenous Tribes
First, let the record show that in both Missionary Max books there are many villains of decidedly European background who can also be accurately characterized as “bloodthirsty”. Call it “equal opportunity stereotyping,” if you will. In fact, much of the violence perpetrated by tribesmen in the story comes at the instigation of their white colonial overlords…something I’m sure the reviewer in question was going to mention but ran out of space.
That being said, I also don’t apologize for my characterizations of people groups who have lived in Christless darkness for centuries. Inaccurate stereotyping? Consider this: the same secular humanists who complain about my “inappropriate” descriptions will, in the name of cultural sensitivity, turn a blind eye to the real life barbaric practice of burying infant twins alive – something that really happens among Amazon tribes.
What kind of barbaric people systematically murders unwanted babies? Oh…wait…
So the Missionary Max books join the long list of things that have been deemed to be racist: things like Land o Lakes butter, Ghandi (no, really) the Dunkirk movie, and Math. (Check out this Twitter feed for an extensive and constantly growing list)
Truth be told, this particular accusation did bother me a little. I mean, the idea of Missionary Max books being sold at Klan rallies is not appealing to me in the least.
As it turns out, I have it on good authority that the chances of that happening are slim to none. From an actual, honest to goodness racist on a social media platform where I was marketing Missionary Max comes this gem:
Promoting miscegenation….would definitely qualify for a book burning.
So, in the face of a charge of racism leveled at my work, I can sleep well at night knowing that real racists hate it.
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