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Why?

Something keeps resonating with me... It's something Ann Smith said to a class I was in back in 1991: "You'd be surprised how much of our lives is Christian and how much is western."

Reading an article and comments from imafarmgirl regarding Native Americans and "the white man's religion," I am wondering... For myself, what is Christianity? What is it that defines my faith? Would Christianity bother people so much if people had never tried to turn the world into Anglos in the name of Christ? Is there any healing for this now?

One of the sad aspects of this to me is that there are white people hurt by this, too; and they get lost in this because it is assumed that Christian equals white and white equals Christian. That just isn't the case for a great number of people. I've met a great number of people who hated Christians and Christianity, only to come to deep personal faith later in their lives.

Personally, I have observed that this desire for everyone to be "like me" in terms of how they treat people morally isn't just limited to white people or Christians. It expresses itself differently. It isn't always expressed in terms of shoving something down someone else's throat. Sometimes it is expressed as a parting curse at someone who has done something in ignorance. Shaming is such a weapon. "What an idiot! Don't they know better?" Wounded people can be quite good at inflicting shame--sadly, I have done it and must learn to relate differently. The whole sighted population doesn't need the bite of my reaction to what happened in the past interactions with particular members of that population, even though those wounds often run extremely deep and I do think they often need educating. Change is an incredibly slow process...

I am deliberately choosing not to comment on the thread with my own thoughts other than to ask questions. I am trying to read and learn... I have a lot to think about. I don't really think that Jesus would be very happy with the Church's path over the years... Conquering was never the way he operated. Why did it have to become the way of people? It doesn't create genuine faith. It only creates very hard hearts.

Comments

( 1 comment — Leave a comment )
masterofmusings
Dec. 19th, 2007 09:52 pm (UTC)
There is a great deal in what you say. People have always seen the need to get their message across by force. I know that any given group who was the victem of force will tell you that their way was peaceful and that they would never have used force, but I don't believe this either. I believe that, given a slightly different set of circumstances, those people would have used force as well. It is human nature: gender-neutral, race-neutral, faith-neutral/lack-of-faith-neutral. People are people. Christ tried to show us that there should be a difference between the way we live and the way others live. We took that and ran with it, in as much as it suited us to do so. We decided that our way was worth fighting for ... good in and of itself. But we extended that until we were the aggressors, and that's where we went noticeably wrong.

One more little comment. It bothers me when some people lament that it's sad that members of a certain race or group are becoming Christians. It's sad when people force Christianity, or any other religion, on others. But if a Native American, or an African American, or a member of any number of other groups chooses, of his or her free will, to become Christian, then that choice needs to be respected. To say, "I don't want your religion forced on my brother, I'm going to force my traditional religion on my brother, is, in my opinion, no more right.

The above are ramblings. I don't claim to be right. But this is what I'm thinking.
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