Westerners who live among Middle Easterners behold very clearly the faults of male-oriented societies.
In seeking to share the gospel with Arabs and other Middle Easterners, the norms of their society about male/female relationships must be accepted as the starting point, at least, for communication. Female advocates of the gospel need to come to terms with the reality that their female Muslim listeners need the understanding and encouragement of their male protectors if they are to make a lasting, positive response to the message they are hearing.
Many Christian mission groups, with accumulated experience of working among Muslims, spend considerable energy orienting their male and female representatives to a cultural perspective which holds a very different view of human relationships from their own. Such orienting is necessary in order that Muslim cultures are really appreciated ‘from the inside’ as it were.
Difficult questions about contextualisation arise at this point.
One of the most helpful guidelines to contextualisation, especially with regard to male and female role-models, is provided by Christine Mallouhi in her book, Mini-skirts, Mothers, and Muslims. Mallouhi’s insightful but disturbing expose highlights the practical possibilities and pitfalls of demonstrating biblical values in ways understood by Muslims.
For a mature, non-Middle Eastern, advocate of the gospel, whether married or single, the matter of contextualisation is a difficult issue to face. Western missionaries need to know why the people to whom they preach are very careful about the game.