Book Review: In the Land of Blue Burqas

Kate McCord left a flourishing career to begin a non-governmental organization in Afghanistan with the goal of helping Afghan women. In her book, In the Land of Blue Burqas, she uses her “boots on the ground” perspective to describe the countryside, homes, people, culture and emotions of a country few non-military Americans will ever see.

Quite literally, I could taste the dust swirling through porous homes. As I read, I felt the piercing cold and the tingle of sweat in the midst of the extreme seasons. I could feel the tension between McCord and her Afghan co-workers when the subject of faith inevitably surfaced.

In the Land of Blue Burqas, is a unique book, in that it goes beyond painting an almost tangible image of this mysterious country and its people. McCord shares how she learned to boldly share her faith in Jesus Christ without alienating Muslims who would as soon kill an infidel as entertain their witness.

A couple of McCord’s explanations of her faith to Afghan friends actually strengthened my own understanding of my Christian faith. My favorite was her depiction of the Trinity.

“God the Father is like the sun that sits in the midday sky. The sun is so strong that if we stare at it, we would be destroyed because it burns with such a great fire. If we did get to it, we would be destroyed because it burns with such a great fire. We cannot come near the sun in the midday sky. God the Son is the light of the world, just as your Holy Quran says. We need the light of the sun to live. Without it, no plants would grow….God Jesus is like the light that comes from the sun in the sky. And God the Holy Spirit is like the warmth that the sun provides. Without it, the earth would be covered with ice and we would die. The sun, the light it shines, and the warmth it gives are all one thing; they cannot be separated…The three are one, and yet they are different.”
(In the Land of Blue Burqas, pg. 242)

Kate McCord’s book deepened more than my understanding of the country of Afghanistan. It also increased my compassion for all who work desperately to appease a God they do not know and who die with no certainty of salvation. McCord calls Christians to consider how they approach differences between faiths. How do we act in love? express forgiveness? explain our relationship with a loving God?

Finally, McCord doesn’t leave her readers with more questions. Her book provides numerous examples of speaking the truth in love and being unashamed of the cross of Christ.

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