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Editorial

Violence against women is one of the most pervasive, most persistent, and yet most invisible evils on earth. Whether in time of war or peace, on streets or at home, at workplace or schools, in hospitals or prisons, in families or local communities or sacred places, the evil manifests its multiple faces, at times in the most concealed manner. The closing of the twentieth century, the bloodiest century in human history, did not put an end to this violence. Even the first decade of this century, which WCC has designated as the "Decade to Overcome Violence," witnessed to the unceasing and ever proliferating reality of this sin against women and girls.
  It is in this context that Asian Christian Review has decided to shed a fresh light on this issue theologically and exegetically, from various locations and perspectives, under the title Re-reading the Bible in Asian Context: On Violence against Women. Elizabeth Koepping in her Viewpoints article gRights of Culture and Demands of Faith: Domestic Violence and the Silence of the Churchh addresses the issue of domestic violence, especially against wives, in Christian communities worldwide. She keeps raising prophetic voice against the hypocrisies of Christians, who see the evil always gout thereh but stubbornly refuse to see it in their midst, their home and their church. Wong Wai-Yin Christina gives a brief response to Koepping in her gLove Your Neighbor (Other) as Yourself.h While sharing the condemnation of the evil, Wong raises a few questions for further consideration, such as that of the limits of the exegetical approach and that of the victimsf agency. Another, yet indirect, response comes from India. In her gThe Violence of Silence: Reviewing the Churchfs Stance on the Issue of Domestic Violence,h Evangeline Anderson-Rajkumar discusses the churchfs silence on the issue from her own experience and context, and offers, in closing, questions for discussion in the wider church community. The first main article, gSacrifice: Your Honor, My Lifeh by Anna May Say Pa is a critical re-reading of the story of Jephthah and the sacrifice of his daughter in the Book of Judges. Her creative and imaginative reading, which intertwines with the ongoing plight of daughters today, subverts the traditional understandings of Jephthah as a hero by exposing his sins and rightfully highlighting the sufferings of his daughter. The sorrows and courage of victims of sexual abuse, particularly in churches, are the focus of another re-reading of the Bible, gEngendering Gender Justice in the Church,h by Liza B. Lamis. Lamis shows how psalms of lament enable victims of sexual abuse to name their experience and express their anguish to God, and how the story of hemorrhaging woman in the gospel gives them courage to break their silence on the violence they suffered from. Finally, Akiko Yamashita tackles the dark history of her own nation that continues to affect its victims in her gDoing Feminist Theology of Japanfs Military eComfort Womenf Issue.h Though not an explicitly biblical treatise, Yamashitafs article, under the influence of the legacy of feminist exegesis, provides insights on various issues such as nationalism, relationship between nationalism and feminism, sexual monism and conceptions of time. We hope that these reflections will help visualizing and understanding once again various dimensions of violence against women, naming them, and critically and constructively exploring what the Word and Spirit of God entail us in front of such evils. Apart from the theme, the present issue also contains two articles and two book reviews. George Zachariahfs gEthics in the Time of HIV and AIDS: Celebrating Infectious Memories for Positive Livingh challenges the predominant theological and ethical discourses on HIV/AIDS experience. Advocating moral agency of the infected, the right to health care and a more positive approach to sexuality, Zachariah seeks to break a new ground for an alternative discourse from the vantage point of the infected bodies. Tobias Brandner discusses how the visiting ministry to prisons effects the transformation of the visitors themselves in his gFrom Charity to Social Justice: An Analysis of Transformation Processes among Volunteers in Prison Ministries.h Brandner demonstrates that prison ministry not only brings about spiritual and communal changes of visitors and their church, but also opens their eyes to the social, legal, political and cultural construct and problems of our society mirrored in its penal system. Kiyoshi Seko Editor July, 2010