Friday, September 30, 2011

#23- Things Fall Apart

As a boy in Haiti I learned of the exploits of Christopher Columbus.  Our books were made by Haitians educated in universities that had European biases.  I learned that soon after the Europeans go to the Caribbean and the Americas people started dying in droves. I have a low opinion of Columbus and colonizers.  I see them as barbarians and evil.

Chinua Achebe
My English teacher in my senior year of high school assigned the book "Things Fall Apart" by Nigerian author Chinua Achebe.  This book was mind opening.  I learned of Nigerian culture right before the white Christian missionaries got there.  Once again when colonizers came life changed and people died.

This made me hate the process of proselytizing with a great passion.  This sentiment stayed with me and would go on to affect my thoughts on sharing my personal belief in Jesus.

As I got into church more there were always talk of sharing our faith with the "lost" of the world.  I found that to be highly arrogant and insulting.  I enjoyed diversity in culture, language and in thought therefore I wanted to preserve this.  Even though I knew there were different denominations and religions out there I sincerely thought that everyone knew of Jesus by now and would make up their minds to follow him when they were ready.  I also viewed God as omnibenevolent and I felt that He wouldn't punish people for ignorance or indifference.

The church used guilt to disarm me of my sentiments about telling strangers about my personal beliefs.  They used to say that "if I am ashamed of Jesus in front of men then Jesus would be ashamed of me in front of God".  They were mobilizing a street ministry team that would go and put their faith in action.  My stomach churned because I was afraid of being found out as a coward.  I didn't want to go on those trips and avoided them.  I felt that random talks with complete strangers was tantamount to those pesky Jehovah Witness weirdos that came around now and again.

The only mission trip that had my interest was the ones to Haiti.  This was because I felt like I could help my people directly by giving them the essentials of life.  At my church there was always the catch of promoting Jesus while helping the poor in Haiti.  I didn't like that but it was of no matter because I could not afford the cost of the trip.  Upon the return of those who went to Haiti there was always banter of people coming to Jesus and leaving the "satanic" ways of vodou.  I don't I would have done much other than sharing food and manpower during those trips.

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