I recently read an article in the June issue of Sojourners magazine ( http://www.sojo.net/index.cfm?action=magazine.article&issue=soj0906&article=christ-and-i-whose-i-culture ) about Christ and Culture. It was related to past evangelism focused on stripping native culture in order to bring Christ to an aboriginal people. In my mind this has always seemed wrong and I can’t understand how it could not have seemed so to those doing it then. I just don’t understand why there was no voiced dissent about it. But maybe there was and it is just not well known. But then again in those days Christians bought into the worldview that Indians and Negroes were less than human.
Imagine if we were doing the same thing today and were witnessing to a modern day American. What if we told them that they must give up everything they now deem normal and go back to living as Middle Easterners did in Jesus’ time. Give up your suits and designer dresses for a sack cloth robe and sandals. Give up your modern homes with granite countertops and oak floor for a dirt floored 10 x 10 shack. And of course you would have to from this day forth quit speaking in English and instead learn Aramaic as Jesus spoke. I don’t think we would have many takers to our invitation to follow Christ. But, this was what was actually done to the original people who inhabited North America. They were totally stripped of their native American identity! At least that is what they tried to do. I am one eighth Native American so I am somewhat sensitive about this issue I guess. But shouldn’t we all be.
Shame on us for doing that. Thank heavens as the above Sojourners article show we are, for the most part, not doing that any more.