Corporate or Colonial
The Movement is unstoppable…
Future Markets, Holy Wars
Been tried ten thousand times before
If you think that God is keeping score, Hooray!
–Clairaudients (kill or be killed) by Bright Eyes
It’s hard for me to find a whole lot to affirm in the Christian History in America. While there are small pockets of Christian behavior, the lot of it is a story of genocide, greed, and colonial expansion. But such is the history of man. When wasn’t this the case?
With the decimation of the Native Americans and the history of slavery, I struggle to see the good. I take some comfort that Noll is aware of this. He writes that American was a place “where Christian heroism, Christian exploitation, and the quite realities of day-to-day Christian life were all defined by the experiences, the assumptions, and the values of the European Churches” (Noll 8). I am still unsure how to hold this with integrity.
Olaudah Equiano asks the “polished and haughty European recollect, that his ancestors were once… uncivilized and even barbarous?” When I read this question, I was hit by a ton of bricks. This question is directed at me! Here I am feeling polished and so much more enlightened than those Christians who were first exploring this land. Don’t I fail to see that I too am just as limited by my own cultural and individual biases? Maybe ten, twenty years from now I’ll read my own writing and be appalled? And even my children or grandchildren could be embarrassed by the assumptions I make here and now. Just like my Christian ancestors who came to this land, I am living out my faith in the best way I know how, with the interpretation I have, and in the context I find myself in. My intention is to do good and be light to the world, but my actions have unintended consequences.
I, like my Puritan ancestors, hope to create a new society based on God’s kingdom as envisioned by Jesus Christ. At the same time, I seek to be as spiritually sensitive as Brebeuf in my interactions with those of other faiths and cultures.
Equiano, Olaudah. “Traditional Ibo Religion and Culture.” Pages 13-19. African American Religious History; A Documentary Witness. Second Edition. Ed. Milton C. Sernett. Duke University Press: 1999.
Noll, Mark A. A History of Christianity in the United States and Canada. Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishers, Grand Rapids, MI: 1992.