May your past find deep healing in Godís present embrace and may your future flow out of that same embrace until all is well with your soul: Forever young, forever joyful, forever in love.
There is one truth, which radiates out like the rays of the sun to all the earth.† Wherever those rays of light are found they lead back to the source, the sun. Wherever Godís truths are found they lead back to their source, and those who pay attention and follow their path find God.† God is found in the religions of the world because it is the nature of God to be present in and through all things regardless of the shadows of darkness that might diminish his presence.
At her inception the New Testament church struggled over the question of whether or not pagan converts had to convert to traditional Old Testament religion. The consensus was that new converts did not have to adopt Judaism to live as followers of Christ. In place of imposing a legalistic burden upon pagan converts, it was recognized that the Spiritís presence was sufficient for leading the converts into the way of Christ. The simplicity of the Christian way was forgiveness through faith in the crucified Christ and new spiritual power through his resurrection: Everything else would flow from this relationship.
Forever, the norm of freedom not conformity was established as the way by which Christís kingdom would express itself and find a home in every tribe, language and nation.
The cruelest injustices have been committed and continue to be committed by exporting and imposing oneís cultural expression upon others.† While Christís Spirit transforms cultures into better cultures he does not condemn one culture and replace it with a foreign one.† Godís agenda is not to Americanize, Westernize or Christianize the world!
Because of Christianityís failure to live by the principles of spiritual freedom, future generations fell into an imperialistic stance towards non-Christian cultures. The resulting colonialism whereby church and state advanced together in the name of Christ and civilization forcefully subjugated the world to itself. Wherever colonies were established the indigenous populations were indoctrinated, civilized and assimilated or enslaved and destroyed in the name of god and progress. Indigenous lands were confiscated and exploited while their original inhabitants were marginalized and forgotten.
The dominion references in the Old Testament book of Genesis were used to justify the forced submission of pagan people to the advancing storm of ďthe† sons of thunderĒ and their wrathful god.† The spiritual and political conquest of the world was perceived as the manifest destiny of a people in service to God! Christianized European powers viewed themselves as Godís agent in the world.
Instead of adhering to the simplicity of the Christian way, which the early church had recognized as fundamental to true Christian missions, the European church became oppressors instead of servants of mankind.
Christianity did not allow Christ to be born into the cultures of the world but insisted on a doctrine of dominance and insensitivity. The voice of God in paganism became the enemy to be defeated and replaced instead of appreciated as a vehicle for true conversion.
∑ A person does not have to convert to Christianity to follow the way of Christ. They can follow him in the context of their own culture; they do not have to adopt a foreign culture (Christianity).
∑ When a person follows the way of Christ in their own culture, certain traditions and ceremonies are confirmed and celebrated, while others are transformed.
∑ The indigenous worldview is closer to the biblical worldview than the western-rationalistic worldview. Therefore it has much to offer sincere seekers of creation oriented spirituality
∑ European and American missionaries have committed and continue to commit grave injustices against indigenous cultures worldwide in their attempt evangelize the world. In the name of Christ they commit cultural genocide. Much of the riches of the tribes and nations have been lost because of insensitive and over-zealous religious crusaders.†† By joining forces with the political expansionistic powers that be, these crusaders have proven themselves to be the beast of Revelation 17:12-14 and the doomed world system which will fall never to rise again, Rev. 18. From its ashes we look forward to the restoration of tribal cultures, languages, the environment, threatened and extinct creatures and the unity of all life!
∑ While the light of God shines throughout creation and in the words and actions of holy men, sages, song writers, poets, prophets and artists it shines most brightly in the face of Jesus.
∑ Love suffers birth pains which bring forth renewal and new life.
Christ, Culture and
the Sins of Christianity
Personal reflections of Bill Redondo, Fresno, California