How do we respond to the devastation of September 11, the deadly attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon? Many responses come to mind: Prayer. Care for the injured and bereft. Increased security, increased vigilance. Just punishment for the masterminds behind the carnage. Sharper on-the-ground intelligence-gathering. Stronger international cooperation against terrorism. Congregational immersion in Scripture stories of God's people who lived through radical loss and destabilization, from Joseph to Daniel to John, Peter, and Paul.

But there is one more response: American Christians will want also to become better global citizens.

Hit in the solar plexus

Since the so-called end of the Cold War, many of us have not given much thought to the rest of the world except as occasional business, tourist, or short-term mission connections. Those days of ignorance are over. We have been hit in the solar plexus with the truth that that we are globally connected and cannot cut loose.

In his bestseller on globalization, The Lexus and the Olive Tree, Thomas Friedman describes a label on a computer part that reads, "This part was made in Malaysia, Singapore, the Philippines, China, Mexico, Germany, the U.S., Thailand, Canada, and Japan. It was made in so many different places that we cannot specify a country of origin." We are globally integrated as never before. Yet many of us have continued to live cocooned in our own little circle of friends, walled off from people who are different. To think about the rest of the world overwhelms us. Masses of data pour over us, jumbled in sound bites that juxtapose great human tragedies with beer ads. We know that even the internationally minded—American expatriates and missionaries—have ...

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